Tourism topics covered during CVB meeting
By Kyle Vuille
Ranger-Review Staff Writer
The local Convention and Visitors Bureau met for their quarterly meeting at the Glendive Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture to discuss some things in the works to make Glendive more accessible and attractive for tourists.
Members of the CVB, named Visit Glendive, include Chamber Director Christine Whitlatch, Chamber administrative assistant Denny Malone, Makoshika State Park manager Chris Dantic, Glendive Mayor Jerry Jimison, local artist and sculptor Pamela Harr, Farm to Table’s Peggy Iba and Holiday Inn’s Tessa Konieczka were present.
The meeting focused around a presentation from Visit Southeast Montana marketing manager Brenda Maas.
Maas said Southeast Montana is one of six tourism regions in the state and represents 13 counties and two Indian reservations.
With Glendive being one of the first main stops entering Montana from the East, Maas noted the importance of her organization joining efforts with the local CVB.
“Our job is to connect the points for collaborative work with CVBs,” Maas said.
Visit Southeast Montana’s mission is to promote tourism by increasing awareness of the region, showcase cultural heritage, develop memorable experiences, and educate residents about the economic benefits of tourism.
Maas said advertising, familiarization tours, printed products, web presence, social media and consumer trade shows are ways her organization fulfills it.
Maas said she picked up an international group in Bismarck and took them on many side adventures on their way to Billings and upon their introduction to Montana was met with awe.
“The most often thing I heard from them was ‘look at this sky, all this space, and man, these people are nice,’” Maas said.
Area tourist sites can build on an overall theme for tourists coming to the state seeking specific experiences, Maas said..
Whitlatch and Maas noted that in Dawson County promoting or gaining access to the Hagen site, a Native American site west of Glendive could build attraction to history buffs. The issue with the site is it is on private land.
Maas discussed the creation of new scenic maps to guide tourists to places that fit their interests whether it be outdoor recreation hot spots or historical hot spots.
The Visit Glendive board members and Maas discussed the importance of balancing lesser known tourism attractions with the more famous ones on the Montana scenic map the organization is developing at the moment.
Maas noted that the national stage is important for promoting tourism in Montana. She discussed her experiences attending the Northwest Sportshow in Minneapolis because it is an opportunity for her to show what Montana offers for hunting and fishing enthusiasts.
“I got a lot of questions about big game hunting,” Maas said. “It’s big in Minnesota to go to the ‘West’ to hunt.”
Finally, Mass focused in on Visit Southeast Montana’s cooperative projects with Visit Glendive.
Currently, Southeast Montana is working with Visit Glendive and Miles City’s CVB on a four-page editorial advertisement feature about the two towns in the statewide publication, “Distinctly Montana.” The feature will run in the spring and summer issues of the magazine.
The total for the two publications that will be available online and in print cost $1,500.The board approved paying for the ad.
Maas said her organization is slowly developing an image library where photos for the editorial and advertisements will be chosen from as well as prevent any copyright infringements with photographers. Maas added Visit Southeast Montana prefers using local photographers.
Malone talked about his work developing the new Visit Glendive website. Malone showed those in attendance the work in progress.
The three main tabs on the site are categorized into Stay, Explore and Dine. Malone is currently working to make every page on the website mobile and tablet friendly because most travelers use those devices and don’t generally pull out a full laptop when traveling.
Whitlatch emphasized that it is necessary that local businesses involvement in catering to tourists, not just the locals.
“It’s getting the businesses to think of themselves in a broader sense for the tourist,” Whitlatch said.
Malone added that Glendive’s retailers and other establishment’s web presence is just as important as their physical one.
Malone said the website will go live in the coming weeks as he acquires more photos from local businesses.
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