Tester Hosts Workshop On Tourism - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Tester Hosts Workshop On Tourism

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BOZEMAN-  On Friday, Senator Jon Tester hosted his 13th Annual Small Business Workshop in Bozeman. The focus was tourism in the state.

300 small business leaders attended the workshop to learn how tourism can boost their business.

"Currently, tourism creates around 43,000 jobs in this state," said Tester. "We've got great public lands, clean air, clean water and great outdoor opportunities."

"The industry is really 84 percent small businesses," said Roger Dow, President/CEO of U.S. Travel Association. "The tourism industry is made up of people that run the outfitters, tour guides and restaurants owners."

Tourism is a big part of the economic drive in the Treasure State.

"Last year, there were about 11-million tourists that came into Montana and those visitors spent about $3 billion," said Tester.

Dow said Montana's tourism is doing better than most of the country.

"The rest of the country has grown by about 1.5 percent in visitors. Montana has grown by two percent," said Dow. "The country has grown by five percent in spending and they've grown by like 15 or 16 percent. So, Montana is out pacing in revenue on what people are spending by 3 to 1 the rest of the country."

Despite the statistics, Tester said we can always improve the tourism industry in Montana.

"I think we can do more, I think we can do better," said Tester. "I think we're doing fine, but I think there's a lot more that can be done. We need to take advantage of the opportunities out there because it can really provide some benefits for the state as a whole."

Both agree the great outdoors is the biggest tourist attraction in Montana.

"I think it's the great outdoors, it's the vistas, it's the ability to go out and see some pretty incredible country," said Tester.

Tourism is $3.2 billion industry. One in nine jobs across the country depends on travel for business.

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