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Profiling Montana's out-of-state visitors,

Profiling Montana's Out-of-State Visitors

A recent nonresident travel study by the University of Montana Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research profiles the characteristics of visitors to Montana. The Montana Travel Survey is designed to assess the economic impact of resident and nonresident travel in Montana.

Travel survey data also include demographic characteristics of Montana's nonresident visitors, enabling a profile of the "typical" Montana visitor. While the Montana Travel Survey is representative of all nonresident visitors, the latest findings are similar to Bureau of Business and Economic Research findings for nonresident visitors to Montana's state park system.

The latest data are from the fourth quarter, 1988. Between October 1 and December 31, the Institute randomly distributed diaries to 1,247 nonresident visitors entering Montana via highway and airport; about half of them were returned. According to the survey results, airport travelers were generally between ages thirty-one and forty, had college degrees, professional occupations, and annual incomes of $40,000-$50,000. Typically, highway travelers were between ages fifty-one and sixty-four, had some college education, were retired, and had annual incomes of about $30,000. Almost 90 percent of both groups said they had been to Montana previously and were returning either to visit family or friends, for business reasons, or to vacation. Most of these out-of-state visitors come from the Mountain states, followed by the Pacific coast and North-central states.

The survey also made the following comparisons:

Airport Travelers

* Travel alone or with one other person, usually a family member, with no children.

* Stay in Montana about 6.9 nights, with five of those nights at homes of family and friends, and just over one night in hotels.

* Spend about $84 daily per airport party in restaurants, bars, hotels, and on retail goods and miscellaneous expenses.

* Spend about $646 per party on each visit to Montana.

Highway Travelers

* Travel in family groups of two, with children along 13 percent of the time.

* Stay in Montana an average of 3.37 nights, with 1.4 nights in a hotel, 1.4 nights in with family or friends, and less than one night in a campground.

* Spend about $64 daily per highway party on gasoline, hotel or motel lodging, restaurants and bars, and other miscellaneous expenses.

* Spend about $266 per party on each visit to Montana.

Of the nonresident visitors who came to Montana for vacation or recreation, about one-third indicated that scenery was an important reason for their visit. Downhill skiing and photography were the most popular recreational activities among airport travelers, while photography and visiting historical sites were most popular among highway travelers.

In addition to the Montana Travel Survey, the Unviersity of Montana Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research conducts a variety of other travel, recreation, and tourism research. The Montana University System Board of Regents created the Institute in June 1987 to serve as a research arm for the state's tourism and recreation industry. Funding comes from a portion of the revenues from the state tax on use of overnight accomodations and from cooperative agreements on contracts.

Some of the Institute's other research includes:

1) Effectiveness of the 1987 Montana-Alberta Advertising Campaign, Research Report 1, February 1988.

2) An Analysis of the State of Montana's Television Advertising Campaign, Research Report 2, December, 1988.

3) Market Segments for Montana Snowmobiling, Research Report 3, January 1989.

4) Tourism Promotion: A Solution in Hard Times? Special Issue of Western Wildlands, Summer 1987.

5) Wilderness Recreation, Special Issue of Western Wildlands, Fall 1988.

Those interested in the Institute's work should contact the director, Stephen F. McCool, Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research, Science Complex 428, University of Montana, Missoula, MT 59812.

Shannon H. Jahrig is the publications coordinator, Bureau of Business and Economic Research, University of Montana.
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Author:Jahrig, Shannon H.
Publication:Montana Business Quarterly
Date:Jun 22, 1989
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