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Montana tourism industries awarded $2.9 million in federal grants

Glacier National Park (PD)

The tourism and recreation industries in Montana are set to see a financial boost. The federal government this week awarded the state a nearly $3 million grant for marketing, infrastructure, workforce development and other projects.

The U.S Department of Commerce announced that tourism grants are headed to 39 states from the federal American Rescue Plan stimulus package. The funds are meant to encourage more travel.

The University of Montana’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research found that the COVID-19 pandemic slowed travel to Montana in 2020 by about 12%, which was less of an impact than researchers expected.

Nonresident travelers spent more than $3 billion in Montana in 2020, about 16% less than the year before.

The institute’s data show that tourists are particularly drawn to state parks and public lands.

Jennifer Pelej with the state’s tourism office said in a statement her staff will request feedback from interested groups, like tribes, local governments and tourism businesses, to decide where the money should go.
Copyright 2021 Montana Public Radio. To see more, visit Montana Public Radio.

Shaylee is a UM Journalism School student. She reports and helps produce Montana Evening News on MTPR.