During National Travel and Tourism Week
Monday, May 2, 2022—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 travel, tourism and hospitality.
Slated for May 1 – 7, 2022, this year’s theme for NTTW is the Future of Travel, with a focus on workforce, sustainability, connections and more.
“Tourism is a strong economic driver for Kalispell and northwest Montana,” said Diane Medler, Executive Director, Discover Kalispell – the Kalispell Convention & Visitor Bureau. “During the last two years, the industry has seen peaks and valleys, with the one constant being that Montana is a special place that visitors from near and far want to see and experience.”
Tourism plays an important role across the U.S. and Montana, with major contributions to Flathead County and the local Kalispell economy.
A few of note:
Nonresident visitors contributed more than $3.14 billion to Montana’s economy in 2020, including $212 million in state and local taxes
Travel, tourism and hospitality supported over 43,150 jobs and $1.194 billion in salaries for Montana residents in 2020
Within the Glacier Country Tourism region, tourism supported 11,800 jobs and contributed $315 million in salaries for Montana residents in 2020
Kalispell welcomed approximately 2,203,349 visitors in 2021
In 2021, visitors to Kalispell participated in day hikes, scenic drives, wildlife watching, photography, shopping, visiting local breweries, checking out historic sites and perusing museums
62% of visitors to Kalispell in 2021 were return visitors, with 70% planning on coming back in the next two years
More than half of Kalispell’s visitors entered Glacier National Park in 2021
Most businesses in northwest Montana rely on tourism, from both direct and indirect spending
Summer has the highest number of visitors, which has resulted in frustration for residents and visitors alike. And while Discover Kalispell does not actively promote summer travel to Montana, they do communicate with visitors both before they arrive and after they are on the ground in the Flathead Valley, largely around things to do, guided adventures, shopping local, exploring downtown and more.
“One of the most compelling things about this data is that it shows that our visitors continue to come back to Kalispell, which also supports our paid marketing strategy of promoting fall, winter and spring,” said Medler. “This travel pattern allows us to cultivate a stronger year-round travel economy.”
In addition, over the last several months, northwest Montana has seen a large number of visitors who are new to the outdoors, which has led Discover Kalispell to place a large emphasis on destination management and stewardship.
“In the past, Discover Kalispell was purely a destination marketing organization,” added Medler. “Over the last few years, we have pivoted from solely marketing travel to the area to being a steward of the destination. We’re taking an intentional community-first approach that’s designed to strengthen our local economy, while still protecting the cultural, environmental and integrity of Kalispell. It’s our intent that this place remains intact, wild and free for generations to come, which is why we proactively work to educate our visitors on Montana values, public lands and wild places.”
Visitor outreach efforts include communication around recreating responsibly, supporting small businesses and tips on how to visit and behave in the outdoors.
“NTTW has special significance this year as the travel industry looks ahead to a bright future,” said U.S. Travel Association President and CEO Roger Dow. “This NTTW is an opportunity to recognize the collective strength of the U.S. travel industry and how we are rebuilding to be more dynamic, innovative, sustainable and inclusive in the months and years to come.”
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.
Contact: Tia Troy