HELENA, Mont. – The Department of Commerce is expanding its program to develop and promote authentic and culturally appropriate tourism in Montana’s Indian Country by creating a new Tribal Tourism Officer position.
Although Commerce already supports tribal tourism through its Office of Indian Country Economic Development, this is the first time it will be dedicating a full-time employee to it.
“Tourism is one of Montana’s leading industries and an economic driver for communities across the state,” said Commerce Director Pam Haxby-Cote. “Respectful development and promotion of tribal tourism experiences can help Montana’s Indian Country to grow its share of that impact.”
An estimated 12.5 million visitors from out of state added $3.3 billion to Montana’s economy in 2017, and the market for tribal tourism already exists. In an October 2017 national survey of leisure travelers, 82 percent said they would be interested in exploring sites and experiences related to Native American culture and history.
During the 2017 regular session of the Montana Legislature, Senate Bill 309 created and funded a new Indian Country tourism region administered by the State Tribal Economic Development Commission.
The new position’s key areas of responsibility will include tourism marketing, visitor orientation, and the development of tourism products, services and facilities. The successful candidate will be responsible for strategic vision and planning and collaboration with local/tribal governments and tourism partners.