Tourism Matters to Montana
Tourism Matters to Montana
Leaders work to build pro-tourism collaboration

Leaders work to build pro-tourism collaboration

Posted: November 8, 2018

Posted: July 14, 2018

Posted: March 20, 2018

The tourism work group created a survey for tourism partners across Montana. A legislative special session was called after the last work group meeting with tourism and bed tax being a popular topic of conversation. We hope the results from this survey will help us shape the work groups discussion moving forward. 

Posted: November 2, 2017

The tourism work group held their initial meeting Wednesday, November 1, 2017 at the Montana State Capitol in Helena.

Meeting minutes will be posted.

Posted: September 24, 2017

Key tourism leaders are coming together to foster stronger relationships based on communication, collaboration and cooperation.

Everyone in this work group is a leader of an organization, agency or association that is a key partner in Montana’s tourism industry. They all play a vital role in its current and future success as the second largest industry in the state. As tourism continues to grow and bring billions of dollars of new revenue into our economy, we not only continue to struggle with positive messaging about the power of this industry but we struggle to maintain funding for our tourism product, infrastructure and promotion. Each year we seem to face more uncertainty and are now experiencing substantial budget challenges as a result of the last session and are currently looking at significant negative consequences from our 2017 fire season.

Tourism Matters to Montana is a group of regional and community destination marketing organizations dedicated to promoting our areas as travel destinations. Specifically, we are the tourism regions, convention and visitor bureaus and tourism business improvement districts that market Montana both domestically and internationally along with the many other partners in Montana including many of those on this work group. For the past seven years, Tourism Matters has pooled private dollars to hire a legislative consultant adding another pro-tourism voice who actively educates and advocates for us in the hallways of the capital. Together with the other legislative advocates and the thousands of individuals and businesses we represent, we have seen successes and losses.

After the last session, Tourism Matters to Montana saw a need for key partners to come together to communicate about tourism and to develop a coordinated approach to how we can work together. Tourism Matters has contracted with Drew Geiger, Communication and Management Services, LLC (CMS), to facilitate this discussion. It is our hope, using a consensus-based model, we develop and coordinate partnerships and resources that benefit Montana’s tourism industry.

They will conduct individual and industry-wide assessments to develop a work plan determining goals and objectives – this could include legislative initiatives, pro-tourism policy development, short and/or long term collaborative projects and programs.

  • Tourism Matters to Montana – Racene Friede (region/west), John Laney (CVB/east), Alex Tyson (TBID/east)
  • Montana Department of Commerce / Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development – Jenny Pelej (acting division administrator)
  • Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs/State Tribal Economic Development Commission – Jason Smith (director)
  • Liaison to State of Montana (United States Forest Service) – John Hagengruber
  • Montana Lodging and Hospitality Association – Steve Wahrlich (legislative committee chair)
  • Montana State Parks – Pat Doyle (marketing manager)
  • Montana Arts Council – Kristen Han-Burgoyne (grants director)
  • Montana Historical Society – Bruce Whittenberg (agency director)
  • Montana Preservation Alliance – Chere Jiusto (executive director)
  • Car Rental Association – Kim Woodahl (general manager)
  • Airport Managers – Brian Ellestad (deputy airport director)