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Havre visitors bureau approved


Havre qualified this year for a Convention and Visitors Bureau, which was approved June 12, making Havre’s the 25th CVB in the state.

“It’s great; they were real excited at the (Tourism Advisory Council) meeting,” said Jody Olson, executive director of both the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce and of the Havre CVB.

Olson said Havre’s is the newest CVB in the state, joining others including a CVB in Great Falls.

Other Montana cities with the CVBs include Billings, Bozeman, Kalispell, Whitefish, Missoula and Helena.

A CVB is a resource for promoting travel in the area, and the non-profit Havre Area Chamber of Commerce will receive payments from state lodging tax, also known as a bed tax, collected in fiscal year of 2019 to promote tourism in the local area, a press release about the Havre CVB said.

A lodging tax or bed tax is included in the cost of renting rooms, such as at hotels and motels. The tax is generally paid within the bill when a guest rents a room, with the business generally remitting the taxes to the state.

Director of Hotel Operations of Town Pump Bill McGladdery had nominated Havre to be in the CVB.

Olson said that June 12, she had gone to Helena to present to the TAC on behalf of Havre’s eligibility for a CVB, and Havre qualified for a CVB this year. She added that beforehand she had made a marketing plan, budget summary and a description of what Havre has to offer in regards to tourism.

Olson said she brought samples with her such as growlers from Triple Dog Brewing Co. and Old Station Brewing Co., meats from Bear Paw Meats, cookies from The Infinity Bake Shoppe, as well as brochures and bumper stickers to show off what Havre has.

She said that the TAC welcomed Havre and approved the city receiving a CVB.

“They were excited and they were glad to have us on board,” Olson said.

She added that this is a big deal.

Havre is a gateway community for Canadians and other tourists to pass through when heading to Glacier National Park, she said.

“We are the hub for the Hi-Line,” she added.

Olson estimated that Havre will receive about $18,500 this year with the CVB, although it is dependent on bed tax, which is recorded quarterly. Olson said that the money will be mostly spent on advertising and creating a website to try to get more people to come to Havre.

Olson said that she also plans to create a committee, to try to incorporate some people in town who might have not had a chance before to have an impact on tourism.

Olson added that Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney joined with the TAC and people at the meeting June 12 on a Gates of the Mountain Boat Tour where riders can see Big Sky Country from rivers like Lewis and Clark did.

“Mike Cooney likes Triple Dog beer,” she said, laughing.

She added that Julea Robbins, the Chamber office manager, helped a lot with the process of getting approval.

Olson said that even though large stores like Herberger’s, Sears and Kmart are closing, it is important to realize that the community still has hometown stores. Those hometown stores are ones that get involved in the community.

“It’s not like Havre is closed,” Olson said. “There may be a resurgence of downtown.”

Olson said she is confident with the CVB and the strong local businesses, the future of Havre appears to be promising.


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