Montana's top industry on rise
MONTANA LIVING — Last year was a banner year for tourism in Montana.
According to the Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development, bed tax collections for 2017 show a five percent increase statewide from the year before. Tourism promotion is funded through the four percent lodging facility use tax since 1987 which has driven impressive results of continued growth.
The U.S. Travel Association refers to travel promotion’s virtuous cycle when marketing investments create new demand that generate increased visitor spending that will spur new jobs and tax revenues. In Montana, with bed tax revenues collected supporting further investments in promotion a positive cycle generates year over year growth.
Non-resident visitors and Montanans who are guests of hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, guest ranches, resorts and campgrounds pay the four percent tax used for promotions. Since 2003, guests pay an additional three percent that supports Montana’s general fund.
The data from 2017 Institute for Tourism & Recreation Research preliminary nonresident traveler report show $3.29 billion in spending from 12.2 million non-resident visitors. According to the same report, non-resident traveler expenditures supported a combined 53,240 jobs.
“Tourism is a leading industry for Montana and this success is not by accident, said Dax Schieffer, Voices of Montana Tourism Director. “There are a lot of states competing for travelers’ dollars so it is imperative Montana maintains its commitment to developing and maintaining infrastructure and most importantly, continues effective marketing Montana to out of state visitors.”
The bed tax collections for Montana are on an eight-year positive trend, the highest collections occur in Q3, during the summer months.
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