Custer Country invites community reps to tourism summit in Miles

  Montana’s Custer Country, the tourism region responsible for marketing 13 counties and two Indian Reservations in Southeast Montana, will be holding a community summit to reveal the findings of its eight-month Research Project at the Miles City Town & Country Club on Thursday, January 5th from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The summit is being held free of charge and aims to provide Southeast Montana businesses, community leaders, and government representatives the information they need to better market themselves to tourists visiting the area. 

Since March, MercuryCSC of Bozeman and Leisure Trends Group have been conducting research for Custer Country by collecting qualitative and quantitative data surveying visitors and non-visitors to the region. They have been travelling the region and attending such events as the Bucking Horse Sale in Miles City, Crow Fair in Crow Agency, and the Custer Battle Reenactments in both Hardin and Garryowen. They also visited many other communities in loop tours surrounding these events. In these communities, they visited restaurants, followed local signage, and visited retail establishments, taking notes along the way. Custer Cou ntry would now like to share the information they gathered with these establishments so that all Southeast Montana organizations can learn ways in which they might better meet the needs of their visitors. 
“This research project has provided these communities with a gold mine of information. I can guarantee we’ll have a copy on the shelf here in Miles City and will be referring to it as we move forward with future events and city projects,” said John Laney, Executive Director of the Miles City Chamber of Commerce/CVB and President of the Custer Country Board of Directors.
Other topics which will be covered at the summit will be how Custer Country is perceived by those who have been to the region, would like to visit, or have never considered a trip to Southeast Montana, as well as demographic information about who Custer Country’s current visitors are. 
Custer Country is also in the process of determining whether or not to change its name. This is a very controversial issue in Southeast Montana and it is important that any stakeholder interested in the issue be presented with the research in order to form an educated opinion. 
“The name ‘Custer Country’ has been used in this region for a long time and has served it well,” said Chip Watts, Owner, 7th Ranch Camp and Historical Tours, Custer Country Board member and chair of the Custer Country research committee. “It is important, though, to consider that some things may have changed and we should see what the research has to say before making a decision one way or the other.” 
An update on this process will be given at the summit, as well as research collected which sheds some light on the issues behind the name and how it impacts potential visitors to the area.
For more information about the Summit or the Custer Country Research Project contact Custer Country at 406-294-5270.
Published Dec. 21, 2011
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