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Visit Great Falls working on tourism master plan

Presentation held to kick off the project
GF tourism master plan presentation
GF tourism master plan kick off
Posted at 6:06 PM, May 24, 2023

GREAT FALLS — In downtown Great Falls May 24, around two dozen people gathered to hear a presentation about the work to be done to develop a long-range tourism plan for the city.

This is work being done in communities across the state and will essentially create a road map for Great Falls for decades to come.

The future of Great Falls tourism starts with looking at the travel and tourism industry in the area.

"Analyze it fully, talk to a lot of players in the industry here," said Darren Rudloff, the leader of the team of consultants creating the master plan.

The goal is to create a 20 year plan.

"We are working closely with the community members because community buy-in and participation is very important. Great Falls has to own this, they've got to buy into it, they've got to believe in it, so they can implement it going forward," Rudloff explained.

"Why it became such an important need for us is we had seen some great growth projection in tourism in the past couple of years up until 2020 and then 2021 and 2022 had some really odd numbers. We, kind of, had suspected that," said Rebecca Engum, director of Visit Great Falls.

Engum said Great Falls Tourism received $230,000 in ARPA funding to create the plan.

About $170,000 was spent to hire the consultants. The remaining money will be used to implement the plan and she says nothing will be off the table when creating it.

"We're questioning everything. So how competitive are we in the meeting space? How competitive are we in the convention space? How competitive are we as a leisure destination and how do we either maintain competitiveness or gain competitiveness in those areas," said Engum.

The plan is expected to be complete in about six months.

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