Tourism across the state of Montana continued its rebound since the recession, said representatives at a tourism conference on Tuesday in Butte.
And Butte-Silver Bow is ripe for growth.
That growth won’t happen on its own, however. Tourism advocates emphasized the need to continue promoting Butte – and Montana – through marketing.
“Tourism is successful because we promote Montana as a destination,” said Mike Garcia, director of Voices of Montana Tourism.
Business owners reported having a strong tourism season.
“This summer, I think, was tremendous,” said Collin Higgins, who owns several McKenzie River Pizza restaurants. The Butte location had its best July in the store’s eight-year history.
Visits to the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center were up from last year, which left chamber officials confident that overall tourism increased. But some indicators took a dip.
Visitors to the Chamber's Berkeley Pit Viewing Stand are slightly behind last year. Through August, more than 21,000 people visited. The stand is open until the end of September, and had more than 24,000 visitors last year.
Trolley tours are also slightly down as well. Last year the full season netted about 6,400 riders, while this year has had about 5,500 riders.
Butte’s also expanding some tourism sectors.
“What we’re seeing in Butte is a surge in interest in outdoor recreation,” said Jocelyn Dodge, a recreation forester with the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest.
Bill McGladdery, director of hotel operations for Town Pump, echoed that sentiment.
“We’ve got so much more than just our history to sell,” he said.