Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social, and environmental impacts, while addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities.
Traditionally, destination marketing organizations have gauged their success by the number of “heads in beds.” But this single metric does not tell the whole story. Our industry has begun to expand our viewpoint, better analyze data, and redefine performance markers for our destinations and communities. In broadening the scope, we are seeing destinations become “over-loved” from the combined effects of successful marketing and the rise in travel and “rapid mobility.”
Destination Missoula began to reevaluate its traditional role of destination marketing. It became clear that creating a roadmap for the future of tourism is vital, not only for our organization, but for our community members and natural environment, as well. We began to apply these insights and values four years ago with a tourism master plan, but COVID-19 put everything on hold, as it did for so many.
As restrictions lifted and other destinations struggled to recover from the loss of visitors, Missoula’s tourism rebounded at an incredible rate. This period of time also attracted new residents to Missoula. Together, with the effects of the pandemic, Missoula faced new challenges, such as lack of hospitality and service industry workers, a sky-rocketing housing market, and negative impacts to our natural resources. The growing interest in rural destinations and its impacts raises the question: Is this growth temporaryor are these trends now mainstays?
The potential long-term economic, social, and environmental impacts on our community create a new lens through which we must reexamine our role. As we shift from “destination marketing/management” to “destination marketing/stewardship,” our new measure of success is equilibrium between our community’s values, low-impact/high-quality tourism opportunities, and economic stability.
A DSP for Missoula and the five surrounding valleys would serve as a 10-year roadmap, providing an organized and structured framework for inclusive, value-based, sustainable tourism development and promotion that helps to preserve quality of life for residents. The plan would effectively define:
Who are our current and potential visitors?
What is the breakdown of regional, in-state and out-of-state visitation?
What attracts/does not attract people to our destination?
What is the present environment in terms of community values, safety, cultures, religions, infrastructure, resources, facilities, events, etc.?
What is the visitor, resident, and business sentiment around Missoula tourism and current policies governing it?
Who is our competitive set and what key takeaways can we learn from them?
Who are our key stakeholders and who should be involved in planning and/or implementation?
What current community plans exist and what is our role within them?
What is the current trajectory of tourism in our area and opportunity/risk assessments?
How do we encourage community-wide insight for the future and goal setting for our region?
How do we create an all-inclusive plan that represents Missoula's diversity?
What KPIs need to be used to measure short and long-term success and economic impact?
Define implementation strategies that engage our community stakeholders/partners, local/regional/state governments, and investors.
Create a timeline for implementation defining ownership/responsible entity.
It's critical that Missoula's DSP honor the potentially disparate objectives of myriad public and private partners in the region, while revealing and calling attention to where there is common ground and value for all involved. The process must define a shared vision; engage and inform the public, local thought leaders, government agencies, businesses, relevant nonprofit organizations and private industry; and develop an implementation roadmap for collective action.Download
We’re reaching out to our community for help in creating a successful and sustainable Destination Stewardship Plan for tourism over the next several months. We want to ensure our plan reflects the needs and desires of our community, so we invite you to share your ideas, thoughts, and suggestions during one of our town hall meetings.
The town hall meetings will be held at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Missoula on September 26th from 5:30-7:00 pm and September 27th from 11:30 am-1:00 pm
We look forward to hearing from you!
Town hall attendees will be entered to win a Destination Missoula dry bag filled with great swag!
|Amy Cilimburg||Climate Smart Missoula|
|Ben Horan||Five Valleys Land Trust|
|Brian Ellstad||Missoula Montana Airport|
|Chuck Maes||University of Montana|
|Dan Monahan||DoubleTree Hotel by Hilton Missoula – Edgewater|
|David Herrera||Montana Gay Health Task Force|
|Donna Gaukler||Missoula Parks & Recreation|
|Dr. Melissa Weddell||Institute for Tourism & Recreation Research (UM)|
|Emily Brock||Missoula County Economic and Land Development/Fairgrounds|
|Heidi Wallace||Empower MT|
|Ian Ortlieb||Missoula Parking Commission|
|Jordan Hess||City of Missoula|
|Julie Lacey||Missoula Economic Partnership|
|Kim Sawyer||Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Missoula|
|Laura Henning||Glacier Ice Rink|
|Laura Millin||Missoula Art Museum|
|Linda McCarthy||Downtown Missoula Partnership|
|Lisa Tate||National Museum of Forest Service History|
|Loren Flynn||Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks|
|Matt Lautzenheiser||Historical Museum at Fort Missoula|
|Mike Morelli||MCT, Inc.|
|Molly Stockdale||Travelers’ Rest Connection|
|Paige Livingston||One Eleven Boutique|
|Rachel Gregg||Big Sky Film Institute|
|Staci Nugent||Paradise Falls|
|Terri Raugland||Blackfoot River Outfitters|
|Tim O’Leary||Kettlehouse Brewery|
|Velda Shelby||Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes|