Nonresident Travel Spending Contributes to NW Montana Counties and Travel Regions

August 14, 2014

MISSOULA – An analysis recently completed by the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana highlights the economic contribution of nonresident travel spending to each of the six travel regions in Montana, as well as 18 of the state’s 56 counties.

Estimates of the economic contribution of traveler spending at the statewide level showed that 11.02 million visitors spent approximately $3.62 billion in 2013, which directly supported $2.8 billion of economic activity and more than 33,000 Montana jobs.

Nonresident travelers indirectly support an additional $1.6 billion of economic activity and 14,600 jobs. Associated with those travel-related jobs are $979 million in labor income directly attributable to nonresident travel and another $525 million indirectly attributable to nonresident spending.

Focusing on the $970 million spent by nonresident travelers in the northwestern part of the state, $662 million of economic activity and 9,500 jobs are directly supported in the Glacier Country Travel Region. An additional $422 million of economic activity and 4,000 jobs are indirectly supported. A total of $260 million in labor income is directly attributable to nonresident spending, supplemented by an additional $93 million indirectly supported by traveler spending.

Flathead, Glacier, Lincoln and Missoula Counties, each located within Glacier Country, also were each included in the analysis. In Flathead County, $342 million of economic activity was directly supported by the $518 million spent in the county, with an additional $211 million supported indirectly. Nearly $143 million in labor income and 5,000 jobs were directly supported by the spending in the county, with an additional 2,000 jobs and $68 million in labor income being indirectly supported.

Nonresidents spent $77 million in Glacier County, thereby directly supporting nearly $59 million of economic activity, 860 jobs and $23 million in labor income. Indirectly supported were an additional $16 million of economic activity, 180 jobs and $4 million in labor income.

Spending by nonresidents in Lincoln County totaled $61 million, contributing to $33 million of economic activity. A total of 470 jobs and $13 million in associated earnings were directly supported by this spending. Indirectly, $12 million of economic activity, 120 jobs and $3 million in labor income were also supported.

In Missoula County, $162 million of economic activity was directly supported by $236 million of nonresident traveler spending. This spending contributed to more than 2,200 jobs and the associated $63 million in labor income in the county. Indirectly supported in Missoula County were an additional $105 million of economic activity, 990 jobs and nearly $37 million in labor income.

The full report, including estimates of the economic contribution of nonresident traveler spending in the other five Montana travel regions, as well as additional county-level estimates, is available online at http://www.itrr.umt.edu/.

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