HELENA, MT – Voices of Montana Tourism joins the country in celebrating National Travel and Tourism Week, originally formed and recognized by a congressional resolution in 1983. Now in its 33rd year, it’s the annual salute to travel in America. Travel is a job creator, economic engine and educator. It is pro-family and pro-health and is a leading industry that works for America.
Nationwide, travel generates $2.1 trillion for the U.S. economy. The travel industry directly generated $147.9 billion in tax revenue for local, state and federal governments. In 2015, each U.S. household would pay $1,187 more in taxes without the tax revenue generated by the travel according to the U.S. Travel Association.
Closer to home in Montana, non-resident travel generated $3.66 billion in spending generating $200 million in state and local taxes. Each Montana household would pay $511 more in taxes without the tax revenue generated by the travel industry according to the data generated and analyzed by the Institute of Tourism & Recreation Research with the University of Montana. After factoring indirect activity related to tourism, the total economic impact is $5.15 billion. This data does not include the in-state travel and spending by Montana residents which fuels the travel economy even more.
“The numbers really tell a compelling story for the success of tourism in Montana,” said Racene Friede, Voices of MT Tourism Chair and Executive Director of Glacier Country. “National Travel & Tourism Week is a timely moment to reflect on the power of this industry for Montana families as we approach the summer season.”
Montana is uniquely qualified to benefit from travel and tourism hosting two iconic national parks with Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks. In the recently published 2015 National Park Visitor Spending Effects report provided by the National Park Service, the entire system received over 307.2 million recreation visits with a $169 billion spend in local gateway regions producing 295,000 jobs.
When looking at Montana, Yellowstone National Park received over 4 million visitors generating nearly $500 million in spending and Glacier National Park saw 2.36 million visitors that contributed nearly $200 million to the local economy.
“Research has shown that 7 out of 10 first time visitors come to Montana to visit a National Park,” said Dax Schieffer, Voices of MT Tourism Director. “However 86% of those who visit once will return for an opportunity to explore all the amazing sights and less traveled areas the state has to offer, fueling the economic engine that is tourism for all of Montana.”
Voices of Montana Tourism serves as a united voice for Montana’s tourism stakeholders. Since its creation in 2011, Voices has led the effort with education and outreach to communicate the immense value a sustainably-grown tourism industry provides for all Montanans.