Updates + Resources

Photo: MTFJ Flathead

The Destination Management Strategy will provide the community and tourism industry with a 10 year action plan for responsibly stewarding our destination and promoting the economic health of our region. At each stage of the project, we will publish progress reports that detail the insights gained from our research and community engagement.

REPORTS

Reports and insights will be uploaded on this page throughout the Destination Stewardship process. The first insight will come after the virtual and in-person town hall sessions.

Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research 2019 Data on Nonresident Visitor Spend by County

Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research Data on Nonresident Visitor Characteristics by County


NEWS COVERAGE

November 17: Tourism, visitors to Glacier County: Tell Glacier Country what you think at virtual meeting Nov. 19, LeAnne Kavanaugh, Cut Bank Pioneer Press

November 11, 2021: Tourism Stewardship Plan discussed, Nathan Bourne, Seeley Swan Pathfinder

November 10, 2021: Glacier Country Tourism aims to use ‘Destination Stewardship’ when promoting Western Montana, Nathan Boddy, Bitterroot Star

November 10, 2021: Can Glacier Country achieve ‘Destination Stewardship?’, Whitney England, Hungry Horse News

November 10, 2021: Glacier Country Tourism shifts gears to create plan aimed at managing growing tourism, Whitney England, Whitefish Pilot

“We must now begin to measure success against the overall wellbeing of our destinations,” Friede said. “It’s more about how to be thoughtful about the quality of the visitor while balancing that with the quality of life of the resident. That’s where this major process we’re doing right now comes into play.”

November 10, 2021: Sanders Co. residents: Tourists are welcome for brief time, Scott Shindledecker, Clark Fork Valley Press

November 9, 2021: Community members participate in long-term tourism planning, Summer Goddard, Valley Journal

Friede says, “We will be looking at how to turn challenges into opportunities, how to maximize growth to our economy, how to protect our way of life and the lands we love and how to strengthen our communities for generations to come.”

November 9, 2021: ‘Don’t Come Here’ — An Intentionally Snarky Tagline — And More Destination Strategies, Laurie Jo Miller Farr, The Travel Vertical

November 6, 2021: In an Effort to Tame Tourism, Stakeholders Seek to Define 'Destination Stewardship', Skye Lucas, Flathead Beacon

Business leaders and community stakeholders from throughout the Flathead Valley met with representatives of Glacier Country Tourism (GCT) this week to discuss a new strategy aimed at reining in traditional marketing campaigns in favor of a more sustainable approach, which is geared toward creating “destination stewards” in a region overrun by visitation.

Dubbing it the “Destination Stewardship Strategy,” GCT kicked off the campaign at a Nov. 4 meeting, which marked the first step in a 10-year collaborative partnership between the tourism arm and other key community sectors. The strategy marks a shift away from destination marketing and instead aims to manage aging infrastructure, overcrowding and impacts on the local lifestyle.

November 3, 2021: Glacier Country holds tourism meetings, Whitefish Pilot

November 1, 2021: Glacier Country Tourism to Host Town Hall, Skye Lucas, Flathead Beacon

The 1987 state mandated Lodging Facility Sales and Use Tax (4%), commonly referred to as the “Bed Tax,” raises money for the Department of Commerce to spend on tourism promotion. However, Glacier Country is among the first tourism organizations in the U.S. to dedicate resources for a Destination Stewardship Plan.

“We’re very excited about this new approach,” Friede said. “We’re not doing this just for the tourists. Our ultimate customer is the resident of Montana.”

October 29, 2021: Destination Stewardship kicks off tourism town halls in Hamilton, Perry Backus, Ravalli Republic

When Glacier Country Tourism first opened its doors in 1985, the travel industry in Montana hardly existed.

Fast forward to now and tourism is one of the top two industries in the state, bringing in billions of dollars annually.

That growth has come with its own set of challenges, including aging infrastructure, overcrowding, affordable housing, workforce shortages and impacts on the lifestyle of local residents.

Glacier Country Tourism — western Montana’s regional destination marketing organization — aims to address those challenges while working to sustain the state’s growing tourism industry through its new Destination Stewardship Strategy initiative.

October 28, 2021: Engagement sought to create Destination Stewardship Plan, Andi Bourne, Seeley Swan Pathfinder

October 27, 2021: Glacier County residents asked to participate in tourism Town Hall meetings, surveys, Cut Bank Pioneer Press

“Tourism continues to play a significant role in the future prosperity of our region,” says Racene Friede, President & CEO of Glacier Country Tourism. “However, we must be thoughtful about how the quality of the visitor experience can be balanced with the quality of life for residents; about the types of visitors who would provide maximum financial value to our local communities while having the optimal social and environmental impact, and how we can responsibly grow our tourism industry for the benefit of all in our communities,” she says.

October 27, 2021: Events to explore balancing tourism, quality of life, Lake County Leader

July 28, 2021: From Destination Marketing to Destination Stewardship, Maggie Dresser, Flathead Beacon

To address the inevitable influx, Glacier Country collaborated with other tourism bureaus, including Explore Whitefish and Discover Kalispell, to focus on destination stewardship while partnering with the national Recreate Responsibly initiative, which encourages messages like leave no trace, know before you go and wildfire safety.