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Montana hotel and campground tax revenues exceeded expectations in 2021

David Restivo - National Parks Service (PD)

The amount of tax collected last year from stays at Montana campgrounds, motel and hotel rentals exceeded expectations. The finding was presented Wednesday during an economic seminar by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research.

Jeremy Sage, interim director for the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana, says the bed tax exceeded expectations in the spring and summer of 2021 when compared to 2019.

“We are sitting this last summer at 23% higher than we would have been if we had just continued at pre-pandemic expectations," he said. "We are sitting at 34% higher in the spring quarter in 2021 compared to what we would’ve thought we would have been.”

Sage says visitors to Glacier and Yellowstone national parks likely drove that increase. In the second quarter of 2021, counties around Glacier saw more than a 200% increase in bed tax collections when compared to 2019. Counties around Yellowstone saw a nearly 300% uptick during the same time period.

The Montana Legislature increased the bed tax by a percent to 4% in 2020.

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Freddy Monares
Freddy Monares is a reporter and Morning Edition host at Montana Public Radio. He previously worked for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, covered the 2017 Legislature for UM Legislative News Service and interned with the station as a student. He graduated from the University of Montana School of Journalism in 2017.