The Economic Impact of Tourism in Montana
The impact of non-resident travel has been researched by the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research (ITRR) at the University of Montana since 1987. Additionally, the U.S. Travel Association measures the impact of tourism in each state, and the National Park Service measures visitor statistics and the economic impact of Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park on local communities.
In 2016, Montana’s over 12 million non-resident visitors:
- spent $3.5 billion
- directly supported 38,300 jobs statewide
- generated $194 million in state & local taxes
- lowered taxes on each Montana household by over $474
Recent Studies and Research
The Economic Impact of Tourism in the United States
Travel is among the top 10 industries in 48 states and D.C. in terms of employment (ranking 6th in 2013), and is responsible for generating nearly 15 million jobs and $2.1 trillion in economic output annually. The U.S. Travel Association measures the impact of travel and tourism on a national level, and provides research about the industry’s impact on each state.
In 2013, travel was the nation’s #1 service export with foreign visitors to the U.S. that year spending over $180 billion.
Recent Studies and Research
Montana Tourism Promotion Funding
Tourism promotion in Montana is funded by overnight guests who pay a combined 7% tax on lodging. About 50 percent of these total tax revenues from guests of hotels, campgrounds and other facilities is used to support the Montana Office of Tourism (MTOT) as well as Montana’s six tourism regions, 15 local visitor bureaus and fund research from the University of Montana. Almost 7% of these total revenues is distributed among Montana State Parks, the Montana Historical Society and the Montana Heritage Commission. The remaining 43% of lodging tax funds are allocated directly to Montana’s general fund for the benefit of all Montanans.
The Tourism Advisory Council — a 13-member body appointed by the Governor — advises MTOT and approves the distribution of lodging tax funds to the regional non-profit tourism corporations and convention & visitors bureaus statewide. The below links provide further details on the state’s lodging tax, as well as state-by-state funding comparisons and case studies related to tourism marketing.
Tourism Funding Studies and Data
According to a study of the economic impact of Montana airports, more than half of the 1.5 million annual enplanements comes from visitors. Non-resident visitors enable Montana to have more air service than the state’s population could support on its own — benefitting residents, businesses, universities and statewide economic development efforts. The below links provide detailed information about airport passenger levels in Montana which provide an indication of the tourism industry’s health.
Studies and Information
Montana Leisure and Hospitality Job Statistics
Nearly 12 percent of Montana’s workforce is employed in leisure and hospitality, and out-of-state travel supports roughly half of the jobs in this large economic sector. The below links provide monthly updates about employment in the Montana leisure and hospitality sector from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Montana Department of Labor & Industry.
Leisure and Hospitality Job Data
|US Bureau of Labor Statistics - Montana Leisure and Hospitality Industry||Montana Department of Labor & Industry - Montana Leisure and Hospitality Industry|