Montana Tourism Up 3 Percent in 2012

By Beacon Staff

BILLINGS – Montana officials say more tourists are coming to the state and they are spending more money.

Sarah Lawlor of the Montana Office of Tourism tells the Billings Gazette preliminary data shows the number of tourists jumped 3 percent in 2012 with a 15 percent increase in spending.

The University of Montana reports about 11 million nonresident visitors spent $3.19 billion last year and 41,070 people were employed directly or indirectly by the tourism industry.

Glacier and Yellowstone national parks saw more visitors compared to the year before, as did Montana State Parks. Airports in Billings, Bozeman, Missoula and outside Glacier park set passenger records.

The university’s Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research projects another 2 percent growth in out-of-state visitors and a 4 percent increase in spending.

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