There's some very interesting data about tourism in Montana coming out right now.

Yellowstone National Park Visitations for 2023

Visits to Montana's National Parks have been up and down the last few years. Yellowstone National Park ranked high among America's top National Parks during the pandemic, coming in 2nd in 2020 and 3rd in 2021. However, the 500-year flood affected tourism in 2022 and the ranking dropped to 7th.

The latest report shows that Yellowstone National Park has seen near-record visitations in 2023, which may mean it will be another year where the park ranks high among visitors.

Insights About Missoula and Bozeman

New insights from a study on tourism done by Destination Missoula and the Missoula Business Tourism Improvement District, indicate, among other things, that tourists don't see a difference between Bozeman and Missoula. For residents of Montana, this might seem shocking, but it provides an opportunity to further distinguish between the two destinations.

As the results of the study continue to be interpreted, we can look to another study that may explain why Montana has seen so many tourists in recent years.

Montana Has The Least Expensive Lodging Tax in the United States

Graphics created by Jasmin Diaz
Graphics created by Jasmin Diaz

Visitors to Montana will pay the lowest lodging taxes of any state in America. The study was done by the travel company Brittany Mendez at explains, "The average of the most expensive lodging tax rates is 20%, while the average of least expensive lodging tax rates is only 9%. In states like Alabama, Idaho, and Kansas, you can expect to pay a maximum of over 22% on top of your accommodation cost. For states like Montana, South Dakota, and New Hampshire, you can expect to pay an 8%-8.50% additional expense added to your accommodation cost."

Given the high cost of many things, it would be expected that travelers would visit destinations where costs might be lower. And given how many visitors Montana receives, increasing the lodging tax may be an opportunity for additional revenue for Montana.

LOOK: Must-do activities at every national park

Stacker lists the must-do activities at every national park ranked by the annual number of visitors.