Visit Big Sky is a 501(c)(6) nonprofit membership organization.
OUR MISSION: As the community’s official destination management and marketing organization, VBS leads the development and marketing of authentic tourism experiences through research and stakeholder collaboration to grow Big Sky’s economy while balancing the need to sustain quality of life for its residents.
Visit Big Sky promises to work collaboratively with our tourism partners and community stakeholders to lead us out of this collectively. We will Rise Up yet again and be stronger than ever. #Rise[Up]BigSky. To learn more, click here.
Big Sky Save Small Business Relief Fund
Big Sky Chamber of Commerce as the Voice of business, and Visit Big Sky, in partnership with the Big Sky Resort Area District (BSRAD) are launching the Big Sky Save Small Business Relief Fund to provide a lifeline to many failing small businesses.
The two organizations, with the BSRAD’s approval, have reallocated $210,000, from their FY20 allocations to provide for micro grants of $2,500 for businesses with 1-5 employees and $5,000 to businesses with 6-20 employees, operating within the BSRAD boundary. Applications will be accepted beginning Friday, May 1st at 9 am through Wednesday, May 6th at 5 pm.
Grant awards will be announced on Thursday, May 7th at 1:30 pm. In anticipation of the need exceeding the amount of funds available, businesses to receive grants will be selected by lottery.
Visit Big Sky's 3rd Annual Marketing Outlook Meeting
During National Travel and Tourism Week, VBS celebrated the “Spirit of Travel” and the value it holds for our local economy, our businesses big and small, their employees, and our residents by hosting a webinar with 2 special guests! Cam Sholly, Superintendent of Yellowstone, and Taylor Middleton, President and COO of Big Sky Resort, discussed the COVID-19 impacts, how they are looking to overcome those, and what to expect in the future. You can listen to a recording of this meeting here! The Powerpoint slides are available here!
COVID-19 PARTNER UPDATES
The April 22 Directive from Governor Bullock outlines the plans for the phased reopening of Montana. The current stay-at-home order has been extended for individuals until Sunday, April 26 and for non-essential businesses until Monday, April 27 (excluding bar and restaurant closures, which are extended to May 4).
The March 30 Directive that stated travelers arriving from another state or country to Montana for non-work-related purposes undergo a 14-day self-quarantine has been lifted beginning on June 1. For travelers arriving at any Montana airport and rail station, temperature checks and screenings for potential exposure history may be conducted by the Montana National Guard to further protect against the spread of COVID-19. For the full Directive, click here.
For the latest travel alerts, visit CDC.GOV. For information related to COVID-19 in Montana visit COVID19.MT.GOV or call 1.888.333.0461.
- Montana Office of Tourism and Business Development | MOTBD - Tourism Partner COVID-19 Resource Page
- Yellowstone Country Tourism Region - Travel Updates
TEMPORARY BUSINESS DIRECTIVE
Governor Steve Bullock’s initial directive to close dine-in food service and alcoholic beverage businesses and other activities that pose enhanced health risks, effective until 11:59 p.m. on April 24, 2020 has been extended. The April 22 Directive outlines the plan to begin phased reopening of Montana. Find the details below:
Effective Friday, May 15
- Under the updated guidance developed with input from public health officials, fitness studios, gyms and pools in gyms can begin operating at 50 percent capacity and with strict guidelines including requiring staff to sanitize frequently touched areas and equipment during hours of operation, train workers on symptoms and handwashing technique as well as posting relevant signage instructing members with symptoms to stay home. Hand sanitizer must be available, employees should wear masks and guests should wear masks when possible. Additionally, a six-foot distance must be maintained between equipment and in locker rooms. Personal training may be allowed if social distancing can be maintained. Indoor group classes may not be offered and outdoor group classes can be conducted as long as social distancing is maintained and in groups of 10 or fewer if appropriate physical distancing is not possible.
Effective Sunday, April 26:
- Places of worship can become operational with reduced capacity and where strict physical distancing protocols can be maintained between non-household members. Places of worship should avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing.
Effective Monday, April 27:
- Main Street and retail businesses can become operational with reduced capacity and where strict physical distancing protocols can be maintained.
- Outdoor recreation can become operational if sites adhere to strict physical distancing between groups and exercise frequent sanitation protocols if public facilities are open.
Effective Monday, May 4:
- Restaurants, bars, breweries, distilleries, and casinos can become operational on or after May 4, 2020 under strict physical distancing and reduced capacity.
- Effective immediately through the end of the emergency:
- Gyms, pools, and hot tubs remain closed.
- Other places of assembly remain closed (e.g., movie and performance theaters, concert halls, bowling alleys, bingo halls, and music halls).
Effective Friday, May 15:
- Gyms and fitness studios, movie theaters and museums have the option to reopen beginning Friday, May 15 as long as they adhere to strict guidelines limiting capacity, requiring social distancing, and imposing thorough sanitation requirements.
- Read Guidelines and the full directive, here.
The places subject to this directive are permitted and encouraged to offer food and beverage using delivery service, window service, walk-up service, drive-through service, or drive-up service, and to use precautions in doing so to mitigate the potential transmission of COVID-19, including social distancing.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that public gatherings are limited to fewer than 50 people for the next eight weeks.
Governor Bullock announced on March 25 that effective immediately, non-essential social and recreational gatherings of individuals outside of a home or place of residence of greater than ten people are prohibited, if a distance of at least six feet between individuals cannot be maintained. This measure is consistent with actions taken in other states to slow the spread of COVID-19.
CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act
- US Travel Association – COVID-19 CARES Act Relief and Resources
- Webinar on Understanding the CARES Act
- Slide Deck from USTA Webinar Outlining CARES Act Provisions and Eligibility
- A Guide to CARES Act Eligibility | 501(c)(6) Resources
- COVID-19 Toolkit Resources
- Yellowstone National Park | National Park Service Operational Updates
For additional BUSINESS RESOURCES and COMMUNITY UPDATES go to www.bigskychamber.com/communityupdates
RESEARCH & ANALYTICS COMPANIES
- ADARA – Resource Center
- Arrivalist – Daily Travel Index
- DestiMetrics - March 60 Day Retail Report for Big Sky
- Destination Analysts – Update on Coronavirus’ Impact on American Travel - Weekly
- ITRR - Institute for Tourism & Recreation Research
- Longwoods International: COVID-19 and Travel Sentiment Survey
- MMGY – US Travel Association Travel Intentions Pulse Survey (TIPS) Impact of COVID-19
- Oxford Economics – Brand USA ROI: The Economic Impact of Coronavirus Due to Travel Losses (2020 Analysis)
- Sojern - Travel Industry
- STR – Hotel News: STR Hotel Industry Impact
- Tourism Economics
- TTRA Tourism and Travel Research Association – COVID-19 Travel and Tourism Research Resources
PUBLIC ORGANIZATIONS & ASSOCIATIONS
- U.S. Travel Association – Emergency Preparedness and Response: Coronavirus toolkit
- National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW), May 3-9, the annual celebration of the contributions and accomplishments of the U.S. travel industry, will spotlight resilience and hope in the face of the coronavirus pandemic with this year's theme: The Spirit of Travel.
- Brand USA - Coronavirus Updates
- Destination Development Association – COVID-19 Special Presentation
- Destinations International - Updates and Resources
- American Hotel & Lodging Association - Resource Center
- Montana Lodging and Hospitality Association - Resource Center
- National Restaurant Association - Resource Center
- European Travel Commission - COVID-19 Measures
- World Travel & Tourism Council - Members Hub
- UNWTO – The United Nations World Tourism Organization
- Global Sustainable Tourism Council - Resources
- MPI – Meeting Professionals International
- Meetings Mean Business (MMB) - Coalition
- Join the MMB Tuesday, April 14th, for Global Meetings Industry Day Virtual, a day to keep the industry connected throughout this difficult time. More information on how to participate can be found here.
- Global Business Travel Association - Resources
ADVOCACY, EDUCATION, AND LOBBYING
MEDIA & SOCIAL MEDIA GROUPS