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UM News
December 07, 2012

MISSOULA –

More than 10.9 million out-of-state travelers will have visited Montana in 2012, according to a preliminary estimate by The University of Montana’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research. This is a 3.2 percent increase over the number of nonresident travelers in 2011.

The increase in visitor volume injected more dollars into the Montana economy. According to Kara Grau, assistant director of economic analysis at ITRR, nonresident travelers spent nearly $3.2 billion in Montana in 2012, which was a 15 percent increase over spending in 2011.

Nonresidents spent more money per day during the first quarter ($144.64 per day) and the least amount during third quarter ($129.61). “Much of this difference is attributed to more people passing through in the summer and camping or staying at private homes instead of motels,” said Grau.

In addition to the nonresident travel, 15 million residents traveled for leisure within Montana in 2012, spending $833 million around the state. The direct dollars spent in the Montana travel industry by residents and nonresidents is estimated to be $4 billion.

Montana’s six national-park-system units had a 9 percent increase in visitation above 2011 numbers for the first three quarters of 2012. This includes a 21 percent increase in visitors to Glacier National Park and a 2 percent increase in Yellowstone. Glacier’s large increase in visitation can be attributed to the Going-to-the-Sun Road opening date, which was nearly three weeks earlier than 2011.

Airport deboardings in Montana increased 6 percent for the first three quarters in 2012 compared to the same time frame in 2011. Nearly 1.3 million people deboarded in one of Montana’s eight airports, which includes the seasonal West Yellowstone Airport.

“All the indicators of visitation and spending show that the travel industry has rebounded quickly from the recent recession,” said Norma Nickerson, director of the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research. “Even at the national level, travel volume and travel spending are expected to continue to increase in 2013. Montana should expect at least a 2 percent increase in nonresident visitation with an increase in spending of nearly 4 percent in 2013.”

According to a recent ITRR study, this agrees with 64 percent of tourism business owners across the state who said they expect an increase in 2013. “2012 was a good year economically for many of the small business and this trend will continue through 2013,” Nickerson said.

Average daily expenditures by nonresident visitors to Montana are included in the following chart:

Expenditure Category

Q1

Q2

Q3

Q4*

Full Year

Average Daily

 Average Daily

 Average Daily

Average Daily

Weighted Avg. Daily

Private Campground, RV Park

  $  0.02

 $  0.58

 $  1.00

 $  0.83

 $  0.75

Public Campground, RV Park

  $  0.01

 $  0.23

 $  0.27

$  0.18

Hotel, Motel

  $ 18.48

 $ 13.62

 $ 13.39

 $ 10.56

 $ 13.58

Rental cabin, Condo

  $  1.81

 $  1.08

 $  1.93

 $  0.50

 $  1.46

Gasoline, Oil

  $ 46.71

 $ 54.94

 $ 46.11

 $ 47.70

 $ 48.70

Restaurant, Bar

  $ 32.35

 $ 22.83

 $ 25.25

 $ 25.54

 $ 25.51

Farmers Market

  $    - 

 $  0.01

 $  0.02

$  0.01

Groceries, Snacks

  $  7.73

 $ 11.98

 $ 11.47

 $  9.17

 $ 10.78

Retail sales

  $ 27.64

 $ 20.82

 $ 21.92

 $ 40.47

 $ 25.36

Outfitter, Guide

  $  1.07

 $  0.48

 $  2.08

 $  0.06

 $  1.22

Auto Rental

  $  4.15

 $  2.42

 $  2.30

$  2.17

Vehicle Repairs

  $  0.03

 $  0.48

 $  0.61

 $  2.93

 $  0.89

Transportation Fares

  $  0.23

 $  0.03

 $  0.01

 $  0.04

 $  0.05

Licenses, Entrance Fees

  $  3.31

 $  2.56

 $  2.79

 $  2.42

 $  2.73

Gambling

  $  0.84

 $  0.12

 $  0.08

 $  0.17

 $  0.19

Misc. Services

  $  0.26

 $  0.89

 $  0.38

 $  0.26

 $  0.48

$ 144.64

 $ 133.07

 $ 129.61

 $ 140.65

 $ 134.07

*estimated

For more information about UM’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research go online to http://www.itrr.umt.edu/. For more information about this study, call Nickerson at 406-243-5686 or email norma.nickerson@umontana.edu.

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Contact: Norma Nickerson, director, UM Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research, 406-243-2328, norma.nickerson@umontana.edu.