MISSOULA (AP) — A group representing Montana's travel and tourism industry has started an initiative to raise awareness about how tourism benefits the state's economy.
Voices of Montana says its ultimate goal is persuading state lawmakers to make money available to market the state as a tourist destination.
The Missoulian in a story published Sunday reports that the initiative is starting ahead of the 2013 Montana Legislature.
Spokeswoman Mary Paoli says the privately-funded group started by the Montana Lodging and Hospitality Association has 16 other tourism and travel groups collaborating.
Paoli says the group hopes to avoid what happened in the 2011 state legislative session when two bills passed that would have eliminated using lodging tax money to promote state tourism.
Gov. Brian Schweitzer vetoed both bills.