Jan 25, 2013 4:52 PM by Marissa P. Kozel - Montana Department of Commerce

Twenty Montana Communities Chosen for New VIC Partnership Program

(HELENA) - Twenty Montana communities have been chosen to participate in the Montana Office of Tourism's 2013 Visitor Information Center (VIC) Partnership Program.

The Montana communities of Big Sky, Billings, Broadus, Cooke City, Cut Bank, Dillon, Ennis, Fort Benton, Gardiner, Hardin, Helena, Kalispell, Laurel, Livingston, Missoula, Shelby, Stanford, Three Forks, West Yellowstone and Whitefish will partner with the Montana Office of Tourism (MTOT) to evaluate and improve, if necessary, visitor services within their centers. These communities were the first twenty VICs to register for MTOT's annual VIC Training Workshop.

"Montana's VICs are an integral part of how we interact with our visitors while they are in the state," said Meg O'Leary, Director of the Montana Department of Commerce. "This new program is an effort to enhance and extend our assistance to the widest range of visitor information hubs as possible."

This is the inaugural year for MTOT's new VIC Partnership Program. Research was conducted in 2011 to identify opportunities to enhance information dissemination to visitors once they enter Montana. Based on research, MTOT developed an educational program to assist Montana's many visitor centers in understanding and navigating new technologies that will complement and enhance traditional methods of accessing visitor information.

In order to qualify for the new VIC Partnership Program, communities must currently operate a VIC that is open, at a minimum, Memorial Day through Labor Day. VIC staff must also register and attend an annual training workshop hosted by MTOT. The first 20 VICs to register for the workshop are chosen to receive additional assistance ranging from staff funding assistance to improved signage. MTOT's selection process and program criteria are subject to change for future selection cycles.

The 2013 VIC Training Workshop will be held in Great Falls, May 9, 2013 at the Hampton Inn.


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