Montana residents spend $2.8B traveling across state in 2017

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Montana residents spent $2.87 billion visiting other places in the state in 2017, according to a new report from the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research at the University of Montana.

The money was spent on around 13.5 million collective day trips and 4 million overnight trips state residents took during that year, the report said. About $1.66 billion was spent on day trips and $1.21 billion on overnight trips.

Glacier Country and southwest Montana, which includes Missoula and the Big Hole and Bitterroot valleys, received the highest percentages of travel dollars for both day and overnight trips. The trips to those two regions of the state represented about 50 percent of all resident day trips and 48 percent of all overnight travel dollars combined, the report states.

Motor boating was identified as one of the more popular reasons people came to Flathead County from other parts of Montana as a tourist, the report said.

As might be expected, most travelers departed from and traveled to one of the more populous counties in the state. Yellowstone, Lewis and Clark, Cascade, Gallatin, Missoula and Flathead counties made the list of most commonly visited across the state.

Data was collected by asking travelers to take a survey at gas stations and rest areas throughout the state to assess overall trip types and numbers. The study was formed from the answers of 10,795 travelers, and an additional survey given to another 1,341 residents about specific trips they took in the last month.

Reporter Peregrine Frissell can be reached at (406) 758-4438 or pfrissell@dailyinterlake.com.

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