In-state, and regional tourism may be best hope for Montana this summer

MISSOULA — Travelers flying to Montana for a taste of the outdoors has been one of the real bright spots in recent years, helping the state’s tourism sector generate a record $3.7 billion last year. But the COVID-19 pandemic has parked most of those planes.

“The airline industry is going to be the one that lags the most,” Dr. Jeremy Sage, a researcher at the UM Institute for Tourism & Recreation, said. “So those visitors that are coming via air travel are going to be the ones that are slowest to resume.”