The Institute for Tourism and Economic Research at the University of Montana recently completed a study of the eight counties in what is called Glacier Country. Non-resident travel contributed over $250 million dollars to the economy of Missoula County alone.

Assistant Director of Economic Analysis Kara Grau said on Thursday that the institute has surveyors all around the state collecting data.

"The information they are gathering is about what people are spending when the visit here in Montana," Grau said. "This is the first time we've done a study like this at the regional and local level."

Grau said  that non-resident travel has contributed near $260 million dollars to the Missoula area economy.

"That $260 million spent by non-resident travelers directly supported about $167 million dollars worth of economic activity," Grau said. "If you're looking at the ripple effects of that spending, we can account for another $113 million in economic activity. Almost 2,200 jobs were supported by that spending, and we can add another 1,100 jobs if we look at the indirect effects, for a total combined economic effect of 3,300 jobs roughly supported by that spending."

Grau said, not surprisingly, Glacier Country, the area containing Glacier National Park and Yellowstone National Park drew the most economic impact from non-resident spending in the state.

Kara Grau from the Institute for Tourism and Economic Research