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Fewer MT visitors, but more spending per tourist in latest UM report

Posted at 7:30 PM, Jan 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-15 18:04:56-05

MISSOULA – Even though fewer visitors came to Montana last year, a new research report by the UM Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research says those tourists that did come spent more money.

The numbers are still preliminary and are contained in the Bureau’s latest report which will be updated this spring. But the initial results show more than 12 million non-residents came to Montana spending nearly $3.7 million. And while the total number of visitors was down about 2 percent this past season, the people who did come were spending more on everything from lodging to gas and entertainment, with an increase of 10 percent.

The report shows non-resident visitors staying in state up to five days in the summer, and even four days in the winter season. Gas, food and accommodations account for the bulk of the spending. But outfitters, retail sales and groceries were also high on the list.

When combined with indirect economic activity, the estimated non-resident visitor spending pumped $5.24 billion in Montana’s economy last year.

That supported nearly 43,000 direct jobs and a total of over 58,000 jobs in Montana last year.

Story by Dennis Bragg, MTN News