Los Angeles journalists might finally be catching up to the rest of us Bozemanites who have already made Bozeman home. In a recent article, the LA Times shared their top 16 destinations to visit in the world in 2016. Bozeman, MT made the list, which included other exotic locations such as Botswana; Paris, France; Iran; Dublin, Ireland; Cartagena, Columbia and Washington DC among others. The list did not order from 1 to 16, so Bozeman’s honor put it on equal footing with these other spectacular locations.
The article highlighted Bozeman as the tourist gateway to Yellowstone National Park. In 2014, 3,936,162 people who visited Montana, travelled to Bozeman as well. In 2015, that number grew to 4.4 million plus visitors. Tourist spending broke 4 billion in 2014.
The LA Times looked at Bozeman’s growing hospitality industry as an example of the positive momentum for the town in general. For example, the Lark Hotel on Main Street, after only its first year of business, has already moved forward with plans to expand their hotel. The hotel already had 90% occupancy rates, showing how many people now want to visit the Bozeman area. Forty-six percent of people who drove through Bozeman with no intentions of stopping, stayed in the town for at least one night in 2014. In 2015, that number rose to 48 percent.
The LA Times article also highlighted the local restaurants in the area and of course, Yellowstone National Park, as major draws for the small Montana town we call home. Local officials credited Bozeman’s tourism growth to the expanding airport, which has made travel to Yellowstone and beyond much easier for out of state visitors.
As Bozeman continues to grab more national attention, it can be expected that more people will visit Bozeman. More than a few are more than likely to catch “the Bozeman bug” so to speak and look to make Bozeman a more permanent destination. So long as that continues, Bozeman real estate can look forward to continued growth and recovery as the market expands.