Published May 15, 2012 on YellowstoneGate.com
by Ruffin Prevost

As Memorial Day approaches, and with it the start of the summer travel season, members of Montana’s tourism industry around Yellowstone National Park are pushing to make sure legislators are aware of their economic clout.

In towns across Montana last week, including in the Yellowstone National Park gateway communities of Gardiner and Livingston, tourism industry professionals hosted open houses and special events with legislators and candidates as part of a National Tourism Week event.

At the Sweetwater Fy Shop in Livingston, state Sen. Ron Arthun (R-Wilsall) helped pull flies and other items from inventory for mail order customers, said owner Dan Gigone. Arthun was one of about a dozen legislators participating in Tourism Works Day in Montana.

Gigone said the event was “a worthwhile exercise for policymakers,” allowing them to see how the tourism industry provides jobs, and letting them hear from business owners about issues that affect them.

“We talked a bit about the importance of tourism and the dollars it brings in throughout the state, particularly in a town like Livingston that relies heavily on outsiders coming in and spending money in town,” Gigone said. “We couldn’t survive without it.”

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