National Travel and Tourism Week
Wednesday, May 3, 2023—Kalispell, Montana—Discover Kalispell is joining tourism partners from across the country to celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), an annual event that spotlights the impact of the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. Held May 7-13, 2023, this year marks the 40th anniversary of NTTW and the theme is #TravelForward.
“Tourism is the second-largest industry in Montana and it has a significant impact on the health of our local economy, local businesses and residents,” said Diane Medler, Executive Director for Discover Kalispell – the destination marketing and stewardship organization for Kalispell. “As we work to move travel forward and ensure that it continues to be a major economic driver, we’re also focusing on highlighting and delivering messaging around the importance of responsible travel and ways to protect this incredible destination.”
Tourism plays an important role across the U.S. and Montana, with major positive contributions to Flathead County and the local Kalispell economy.
A few key statistics from 2022:
- Montana welcomed 12.5 million nonresident visitors
- Of the 12.5 million visitors, 80% had been to Montana before
- Nonresident visitors contributed more than $5.82 billion to Montana’s economy in 2022, including $315 million in state and local taxes
- Travel, tourism and hospitality supported over 43,900 jobs and $1.4 billion in salaries for Montana residents
- 1 in 13 Montana workers are supported by nonresident travelers
- Kalispell welcomed approximately 1,966,000 visitors in 2022
- Of Kalispell’s visitors, 82% visited Glacier National Park, 30% visited Yellowstone National Park and 28% visited Flathead Lake state parks
- Primary reasons for visiting Kalispell include leisure travel, with top activities including scenic drives, day hikes, nature photography, wildlife watching, camping, shopping, breweries and historic sites
- Montana’s top markets were Washington, Idaho, North Dakota, California, Minnesota, Alberta, Texas, Utah, Colorado and Oregon
- Top travel markets to Kalispell were Washington, Texas, Illinois, Arizona, Alberta, Oregon and Minnesota
- The average group size to Kalispell is 2.3 people, with the biggest market being 65-74 year olds, 55-64 year olds, 45-54 year olds
- 67% of visitors to Kalispell were return visitors, according to a report from ITRR
Throughout the state, quarter 3 (July – September) welcomes the most travelers, followed by quarter 2 (April – June) and most businesses in northwest Montana rely on year-round tourism, from both direct and indirect spending.
And while the majority of travelers come to Montana during the summer, Discover Kalispell does not actively promote summer travel. Instead, the DMO focuses on responsible travel and communicating with visitors before they arrive and once they are on the ground in the Flathead Valley.
“Visitors are going to continue to choose Kalispell for their vacation,” said Medler. “At Discover Kalispell, we’re actively working to promote our shoulder seasons, while encouraging the travelers who are here to spend money locally at restaurants and watering holes, shops, boutiques and museums, as well as on guided experiences.”
While Discover Kalispell is a tourism marketing organization, they also place a major emphasis on stewardship and sustainability.
“Over the last few years, we’ve focused on growing awareness of how to travel safely, leave no trace and ways to explore beyond just Glacier National Park,” said Medler. “We’re going to continue to focus on the community-first approach we’ve been taking and actively engage with visitors, new residents and locals to ensure that we’re all doing our part.”
Visitor outreach efforts include communication around recreating responsibly, supporting small businesses and tips on how to visit and behave in the outdoors.
More information about Discover Kalispell can be found at DiscoverKalispell.com.
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About Discover Kalispell
Discover Kalispell, the Kalispell Convention & Visitor Bureau, is the designated marketing organization for the city of Kalispell and is a division of the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce. The organization is funded by the state accommodations tax and the Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) fee. Anchoring the Flathead Valley, Kalispell is a destination that combines accessible amenities, touchable history and a charming downtown with Montana’s wide-open spaces and endless outdoor recreation. It’s also located within minutes of Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, the Jewel Basin and many public parks and trail systems. More information can be found at DiscoverKalispell.com or on social media at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as well as #DiscoverKalispell.