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Outreach + Advocacy

OUTREACH: VOICES OF MONTANA TOURISM is an independent organization that serves as a united voice for Montana’s tourism stakeholders. Since its creation in 2011, Voices has led the effort with education and outreach to communicate the immense value a sustainably-grown tourism industry provides for all Montanans. Western Montana's Glacier Country was one of the many founding partners and continues to play an active role in the governance and oversight of its mission and supporting programs.

Funding for this organization comes from a variety of sources, including lodging tax. In 2017, Voices of Montana Tourism became a standalone 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. It does not take positions on legislative issues.

LEGISLATIVE: TOURISM MATTERS TO MONTANA is a collaborative group made up of the tourism region, convention and visitor bureau (CVB) and tourism business improvement district (TBID) destination marketing organizations across Montana. It operates as a committee under the umbrella of Western Montana's Glacier Country, which is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit organization. It acts as an independent committee with separate accounting. Funding comes from non-lodging tax sources including TBIDs, membership funds and resort tax areas.

Because Tourism Matters to Montana partners are often associated with chambers of commerce, economic development associations and other membership organizations, these two entities represent thousands of tourism businesses across Montana.

The primary purpose of Tourism Matters to Montana is legislative advocacy during both general and special sessions of the Montana legislature.

  • Protect 4% lodging tax used for tourism promotion
    • There must be emphasis on the fact that tourism doesn’t just happen.
    • Destination marketing is highly competitive. Not only do the western United States and Canada have similar products, but so do countries across the world with bigger marketing budgets to keep their destinations top of mind to potential visitors.
    • Montana’s promotion funding must remain (at minimum) at current levels or increase for us to continue to bring new travel dollars into our communities.
  • Monitor and take positions on issues that impact the tourism industry either directly or indirectly.
  • Collaborate with partners to provide accurate information on legislative bills.
  • Collaborate with partners to support or oppose bills under the name of Tourism Matters and assist DMOs and their networks to do the same.
  • Encourage industry partners to engage with their elected officials and participate in the legislative process.
  • Work with tourism partners to provide a unified voice on issues and collaborate on strategy development and implementation on proactive and reactive legislation.
  • Maintain, social channels and newsletter to support efforts. Provides easy access to current legislators, bills, communication tools and talking points for issues.

In 2018, Tourism Matters created a work group to bring tourism leaders from key sectors of the Montana tourism industry together to build and foster stronger relationships based on communication, collaboration and cooperation.

Western Montana's Glacier Country provides a marketing voice much louder than what we could do on our own. Their audience exposure and traffic are at a scale we’d be silly not to take advantage of.

- Chase Averill, Flathead Lake Lodge