Summer Tourist Season Gets Underway - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Summer Tourist Season Gets Underway

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The official start to summer is less than a month away and Flathead businesses are already gearing up for the crowds.

With an economy based largely on tourism, the summer season can be make or break for some Flathead businesses.

"We really see that activity not only in the Flathead but the entire state in terms of, are people in town are they buying beer are they hitting the park are they hitting the lake, so we see it and if people aren't in town, if they're not moving through the state then beer sales slow down,” said Great Northern Brewery General Manager Marcus Duffey.

In some cases, the few month period of summer tourism can account for the majority of a business's revenue for the year.

"We do about 60% of our business in the summer months. It's really the time to put the nose to the grindstone and make things happen. It allows us to kind live our lifestyle the rest of the year when things definitely slow down,” Duffey said.

With spring coming early across much of the state, businesses here in Whitefish are hopeful that will mean a strong summer tourism season.

"Some years we get the early spring, sometimes it's a late winter and you know the one thing you know for sure is that tourists are going to find us here in Whitefish, in Glacier, and in Northwest Montana,” said Whitefish Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kevin Gartland.

Gartland says low gas prices will likely play a part in bringing people to Whitefish. A factor that certainly helped the Powelsons make the decision to drive in from Ohio and rent a cabin just outside of town.

"You know the pictures don't even do it justice, what it looks like in person and that's what drew us here. Everyone is very hospitable you know, the brewery is a fun place to go, we've been here three times since Sunday,” said Nate Powelson.

According to the chamber of commerce, many hotels are already reporting full summer bookings, but being this dependent on tourism isn't always a good thing.

"Being a tourist-based economy is a blessing and a curse the blessing comes right now until sometime around the first of October and the curse comes you know in the shoulder seasons,” Gartland said.

For now, it looks to be full steam ahead on this and future summer seasons in the Flathead.

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