Helena, Mont. (Tues., May 1, 2012) ― As Montana tourism businesses prepare for the summer travel season, they’ll receive a little help from state lawmakers and legislative candidates on Tues., May 8 during the statewide “Tourism Works Day” event.
Organized by Voices of Montana Tourism, the first-time event is one of many taking place across the nation in celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week.
About a dozen elected leaders and legislative hopefuls are expected to temporarily join the tourism workforce at businesses around Montana. They have volunteered to spend several hours in jobs that include bartending at the Sip-N-Dip Lounge in Great Falls, stocking gear for anglers at Livingston’s Sweetwater Fly Shop, assisting guests at the front desk of the Marina Cay Resort in Bigfork and working on the Hilton Garden Inn banquet crew in Billings.
By giving leaders a hands-on experience inside Montana’s $2.8 billion tourism industry, businesses hope to raise awareness about the significant role tourism plays in Montana’s economy.
“Because elected officials make decisions that affect the tourism industry, we see the event as an opportunity to build first-hand awareness about visitors’ impact on businesses and workers across the state,” said Voices of Montana Tourism spokesperson Mary Paoli. “Every year non-residents come to Montana and spend billions, which means that tourism contributes to the state’s economic health in the same way that agriculture, oil and gas, mining, healthcare and other industries do.”
Tourism industry growth outpaced Montana’s overall economic growth in 2011 with a 10 percent year-over-year revenue increase according to a study by the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research (ITRR) at the University of Montana. Non-resident tourism supported 39,000 local jobs last year which represents a 13.5 percent increase over 2010.
Direct traveler spending supports gas stations, restaurants, retail stores, hotels, state and national parks, outdoor guides and many other businesses. In turn, these businesses create demand for local professional services, real estate, agriculture products and more — sending a positive ripple effect through the economy.
About Voices of Montana Tourism
Voices of Montana Tourism is a collaboration of 17 statewide organizations that formed in 2011 to raise awareness about tourism’s value to Montana. Through education and communication, the group works to foster supportive policies affecting tourism and tourism promotion which is funded with lodging tax revenues paid by overnight guests of Montana accommodations.