Is Montana A Top Tourist Destination? Just Where Do We Rank?
You can tell it's tourist season here in Montana.
The RVs are everywhere, parking is backed up, folks are walking around wearing their overpriced Montana-themed t-shirts, and the folks that always complain about tourists are complaining even more.
Summer is busy here; folks from all over the world come to see what makes Montana so magical. In fact, both Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks rank in the Top 5 Best Family Vacation destinations, with Yellowstone coming in first.
So just how much money do tourists bring to Montana?
How about over 5 billion dollars. Yep, that's billions with a "b." That's a ton of money and no doubt goes to help out the infrastructure of the state in many ways. However, according to a report by the Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research and published by the Missoula Current, the majority of Montanans (56 percent) feel like the state is being overrun by tourists.
So over half the residents of Montana feel like there are too many visitors from out of state coming here. That's a pretty big percentage when you think about it. I mean, Montana is the 4th biggest state in the nation, so with all that room and all of those people visiting, we must really rank high as far as states with the most visitors, right?
As it turns out, not really.
At least not according to vividmaps.com. Their research says that Montana doesn't even make the Top 10, the Top 20, or the Top 30. So just where do we rank when it comes to the most visitors?
We come in at number 40.
Only 10 states have fewer visitors per year than Montana does and one of them is our eastern neighbor, North Dakota. Both Idaho and Wyoming have more visitors than Montana, according to this research. Oh, and the state that has the most visitors? You guessed it, California. Maybe the Californians are sick of all the tourists and that's why they're moving here.
So, when you get frustrated by all of those folks coming to see Montana this summer, remember this: it could be a whole lot worse. In fact, it is in 30 other states.