Montana tourism in an upswing: Here's what that means for our st - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

Montana tourism in an upswing: Here's what that means for our state

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New numbers released from the University of Montana show tourists spent 3-billion dollars in Montana in 2016.

The tourism industry employs nearly 35,000 people directly in Montana, but visitors also keep many other businesses from gas stations to shops even restaurants. Some of the local businesses here in Missoula tell me they rely on that tourism every year. The majority of this tourism and spending comes from Montana's two national parks. The visitation to the parks regions alone accounted for 1.9 billion in spending in 2016. 

I spoke to the University of Montana's Jeremy Sage, Economist and Associate Director, UM Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research who said "Summers looking fantastic hearing words coming in from national parks that they're visitation is up which means that visitors are coming to Montanan and spending money I just have an overall optimistic feeling for those business that are reviving those monies."

According to officials at the university 2017 should continue this trend as both parks are again seeing near record visitation despite this years smokey summer.

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