Montana's senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus announced a tourism-trade mission to Canada that will kick off in the fall. Baucus made the announcement today in Whitefish with local business leaders and tourism industry leaders as part of his Flathead Jobs Tour. The news kicks off National Tourism Week which begins on May 5, 2012.
In launching the tourism-trade mission, Baucus noted:
Tourism accounted for almost $300 million in revenue to the Flathead economy and $2 billion statewide last year.
Tourism supports 19,000 jobs a year in Montana.
More than 8 million jobs in the U.S. and more than 28,000 jobs in Montana depend on trade with Canada.
"This is a great opportunity for Montanans to ramp up tourism at a time when Canadian retail prices are higher than they are in Montana. The more tourists we can get spending money at our Main Street businesses, the more jobs we can support here at home," said Baucus. "The Flathead has been hit hard by job losses in recent years and it's critical we take advantage of every opportunity to support jobs."
"We're proud to work with Max on this tourism-trade mission because we believe it will lead to more customers at Montana businesses which will support more local jobs. Canadian tourists are already a pillar of our local economy and now is the perfect time to bring more here," said Jan Metzmaker, Whitefish Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The tourism focused trade mission is designed to build upon some of the relationships and business contacts successfully moving forward from Baucus' 2011 trade mission to Canada. On that mission, 20 Montanans from 14 different groups were able to land contacts to support industries including manufacturing, agriculture and tourism. Including the upcoming trip to Canada, Baucus has organized eight Trade Missions for Montanans to 11 countries: Mexico, Cuba, Japan, China, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, India, Brazil, Colombia and Canada.
Last May, Baucus brought top-level trade officials from around the world to Montana for the Spring APEC meetings in Big Sky. The tourism-trade mission announced today is slated for September 2012. Montana businesses interested in participating may contact: Rory Murphy, Senate Finance Committee - 202-224-4515.