Communities across eastern Montana are proactively planning ways to diversify their local and regional economies for the future, including by raising awareness of eastern Montana as a tourism destination.
To further the region’s goals of enhancing marketing efforts, strengthening tourism amenities and creating vibrant communities in which families want to live, the Office of Tourism and Business Development at the Montana Department of Commerce is investing $1.3 million over two years (2018-2020) in long-term efforts. That ongoing work includes regional marketing, grants, staff expertise and access to updated data.
In October 2019, the Department announced the first round of investments as part of the community-led Eastern Montana Tourism Partner Initiative.
Eight eastern Montana communities are sharing a total of $365,250 to build or enhance existing tourism infrastructure, raise awareness of eastern Montana as a tourist destination and support sustainable economic development in the communities and nearby areas. Uniquely, many of these grant projects are collaborations that cross county lines, or even span the entire eastern Montana region.
- MonDak Motorcycle Loop Project – $32,000 – Route will run from Baker to Alzada (Eastern Plains Economic Development Corporation)
- “Living the Sloth Life” Project – $51,000 – Billings (ZooMontana)
- Eastern Montana Astrotourism Product Development Project – $75,000 – Project spans the entire Eastern Montana Tourism Partner Initiative area (Montana’s Missouri River Country)
- Event Stage and Digital Screen Project – $75,000 – Glasgow and surrounding communities (Glasgow Area Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture)
- Bear Paw Battlefield Campaign Project – $27,000 – Blaine County (Central Montana Tourism Region)
- Fergus County Wayfinding System Project – $35,000 – Lewistown and surrounding recreational trails (Fergus County)
- Portable Performance Stage – $65,000 – Daniels County Museum Association (Scobey)
- Terry Kiosk Project – $5,250 – Terry and surrounding communities (Prairie County Economic Development Council)
“Communities in eastern Montana are planning for smart, long-term economic growth to bring more travelers to the region, which will support job growth and opportunities,” said Montana Department of Commerce Director Tara Rice. “One part of the economic equation in eastern Montana includes making sure visitors in and around Montana know they can find breathtaking experiences in every corner of our state. That’s why we’re thrilled to partner with these communities.”