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City officials develop marketing plan to promote Bozeman tourism

Published On: May 29 2013 06:30:06 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Nicholas Vailas just flew into Bozeman. He's from New Hampshire and is looking forward to a vacation.

"We're spending a week out around Yellowstone to fish," Vailas says.

He says Bozeman is a beautiful place but he's looking for an insect that draws fish near the park.

I ask, "So, Bozeman is not your final destination?"
"No, it's not, no," Vailas says.

Suzanne Fairlie is headed to pick up a rental car. She's off to Yellowstone too.

"My husband loves to go to the National parks and we've not been to Yellowstone, and our son and his wife went here last year," Fairlie says.

Their trip doesn't include Bozeman, though.

She says, "Sorry! Different time of year if one of the festivals was here, maybe, but there's nothing going on this time of year."

While there are a lot of travelers flying into the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, not many are actually staying in Bozeman. That's why folks at the Chamber of Commerce are working to change that.

"Once you get them to the airport, the biggest challenge is, how do you keep them from taking a right going directly to Big Sky, up to Yellowstone National Park or West Yellowstone," says Chamber of Commerce Director Daryl Schliem.

He is a member of the Bozeman Tourism Business Improvement District.

They came up with a marketing plan that promotes Bozeman as a destination. Their goals include drawing international travelers, business conferences, and large sports tournaments.

"When they come and spend four days here...They make this their shopping threshold to go to the mall, to go to the retail, get an opportunity to go to the restaurants here," Schliem says.

The plan will cost $425,000 but Schliem hopes it will mean folks like Vailas and Fairlie will choose Bozeman for their next trip.

The plan also looks at collaborating with Montana State University to bring more concerts and film production to the region and a possible partnership with Bridger Bowl to bring in more winter tourists.