Nonresident Travel Survey Methods
Since July, 2009, the primary research project for ITRR has been the Statewide Nonresident Travel Survey. Previously conducted only every five years, this data collection effort is now an ongoing project, aimed at providing continually updated information about travelers to Montana, including their characteristics, activities participated in, sites visited, and expenditures in the state. Continuous data collection allows for monitoring of travel trends in the state and provides up-to-date information for use in the annual estimates of the number of travelers in Montana, their total spending, and the contribution of this spending to that state’s economy.
This statewide travel survey is no small undertaking! Nine ITRR surveyors each spend approximately 25 hours per week collecting data at gas stations, airports and rest areas at approximately 60 locations all around the state to ensure that the data represents all travelers. Once collected, the data is made available for public use via the ITRR website, Interactive Data, frequently used by marketers, legislators, reporters, and businesses, to name a few. The travel data also informs the widely-used annual estimates of visitation, traveler spending, and the contribution of nonresident travel to Montana’s economy.