The Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana has released a report detailing the spending throughout Montana by out-of-state visitors in 2018 that actually set a new record.

“We actually had a slight decrease in the number of visitors that came to the state in 2018, that’s about 12.4 million people and their spending increased over the previous year,” said Kara Grau, Assistant Director of Economic Analysis. “In 2018, they spent over $3.7 billion and that’s about a 10.5 percent increase. The number one expenditure was fuel, what they spent on gas or diesel. As you know, Montana’s a big state and it takes a lot of fuel to get around the state. That’s followed by dining out, and following that, third in line was their spending on accommodations, hotels, motels and things of that nature.”

Grau said out of state visitors are spending an increasing amount of money on hunting and fishing guide services.

“Out of state visitors are actually spending more money on outfitters and guides that they are on retail purchases,” she said. “It didn’t use to be that way. Retail sales were always fourth in line and now that has traded places with outfitter and guide activities.”

Grau said communities and businesses throughout the state have benefited economically from visitors to Montana.

“It’s directly contributed to about $3.1 billion in economic activity,” she said. “When we look at all the various ripple effects of that economic activity, it actually has a total combined effect of $5.3 billion and that’s a really great picture for the state.”

Read the UM study by clicking here.