Montana’s tourism is on the decline, with more than 1,000 resorts closing over the last two years, according to data released by the Montana Tourism Department.
Montana Tourism Department Chief Executive Officer Scott Tully said in a statement that while many resort operators were doing better than expected in recent years, it is time to start taking a step back and look at what is working and what isn’t.
Tully said tourism is important to Montana, and he hopes the new data will spur some positive changes.
Tullys department tracks the industry based on visitor counts and data provided by major operators, but the numbers do not include data from other Montana tourist attractions.
In order to provide more data, Tully also created a tourism index.
Tulsa is the second-largest state for tourism, with nearly 1,600 hotels and resort properties.
In 2017, it closed more than a third of its resorts, with a total of 1,839.
Montanas tourism department has been working to find ways to better serve visitors in a time of economic stress.
A recent report by the state Department of Tourism noted the tourism industry is seeing more economic hardship, but said the state has made strides in recent months to help the industry, which is dependent on tourism dollars.
Tulys department also released a survey on how well Montana is doing in providing quality services to the tourism community.
The data included more than 100 questions, which asked visitors to provide a one-sentence description of their experience and what they wanted from a vacation.
Tully pointed out that the survey had more than 2,000 responses, and that nearly 1 in 3 visitors said they would be returning to Montana in the future.
In a statement, the Montana Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) said its tourism department is “currently looking at ways to improve services to ensure that visitors can find the right accommodations, meals and other services to make a positive return.”
Tully, who said Montana is in a position to be “one of the nation’s premier tourism destinations” is encouraging the state to “look beyond tourism and invest in other areas of economic development.”
Montana is expected to be ranked third for tourism growth this year, behind Hawaii and Hawaii County, Utah, according the report.
The state’s economy is expected increase by about $1 billion in 2018, according Tully.