MISSOULA – Estimates of the number of travelers to Montana and how much they spent in the state during 2013 have been finalized by the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana.
According to Kara Grau, ITRR’s assistant director of economic analysis, visitation was up 2.3 percent in 2013, topping out at just over 11 million travelers to the state during the year. During the third quarter, July through September, 46 percent or 5.1 million of those visitors were in the state. Nearly 50 percent of spending by travelers during 2013 totaled nearly $1.7 billion, with travel-group spending averaging $163.77 per day during summer months.
During the first and second quarters of the year, traveler groups spent an average of $152.47 and $142.39 per day, and totaled $420 million and $751 million, respectively. Fourth quarter group spending averaged $180.72 per day, totaling nearly $676 million.
Overall, nonresident travelers spent a total of $3.62 billion in Montana during 2013, with travel groups spending an average of $161.19 per day throughout the year.
Of the 11 million travelers Montana hosted during the year, one third were in the state primarily for vacation, and another 19 percent were visiting friends or relatives. Visitors in Montana for business accounted for 12 percent of travelers, while 31 percent of travelers were in the state mainly just to get to another location. A small percentage of travelers, 2 percent, came to Montana to shop; more than 60 percent of the shopping visitors were from Canada.
The annual analysis of travel spending’s contribution to Montana’s economy will be completed and released by ITRR this spring. For more information about the 2013 nonresident visitation and spending estimates, visit http://www.itrr.umt.edu/expendvisitation.htm. All information and reports published by ITRR are available online at http://www.itrr.umt.edu.