Montana Department of Commerce Director Tara Rice announced the winners of the 2020 Montana Tourism Awards, recognizing the significant contributions Montanans have made to the state’s tourism and recreation industries.
The annual Montana Tourism Awards recognize the outstanding accomplishments of the people, businesses, organizations and communities that play an integral part in strengthening the state’s tourism and recreation industries and in sharing the message of Montana’s spectacular, unspoiled nature and vibrant, charming towns. Nominations were reviewed by a panel of industry peers.
The 2020 Montana Tourism Award winners are:
Marysue Costello of West Yellowstone and Gayle Fisher of Great Falls are the co-winners of the Montana Tourism Legacy Award, which recognizes significant, life-long contributions to the tourism, hospitality, and recreation industries.
--Marysue Costello served as a member of the original Tourism Advisory Council, developed the framework for the first set of regulations and procedures that govern the lodging tax revenue and the Tourism Advisory Council. Marysue led the formation of the West Yellowstone Tourism Business Improvement District.
--Gayle Fisher started her career as the first director for the Central Montana tourism region. Over her nearly 40 years in the industry, many have described Gayle as a “tremendous mentor.”
Diane Medler, executive director of the Kalispell Convention and Visitors Bureau is the 2020 Tourism Ambassador of the Year. Under Diane’s leadership, hotel revenues in the Kalispell area increased 11 percent per year for the past 10 years.
Todd Hunkler of Butte is the recipient of the 2020 Outstanding Tourism Volunteer Award for his work on the Montana Folk Festival.
Montana tourism regions Glacier Country Tourism and Yellowstone Country Montana earned the 2020 Marketing Campaign of the Year for their “Glaciers to Geysers” marketing campaign.
Glacier National Park and the Glacier National Park Conservancy are recipients of the Montana Tourism Private-Public Collaboration Award for their work together to reconstruct the iconic Sperry Chalet.
Blue Heaven Ranch of Hays is the winner of the 2020 Heritage and Cultural Tourism Award, which recognizes contributions to the promotion and celebration of Montana’s authentic culture or natural history. Blue Heaven Ranch is a family-owned business.
Livingston is this year’s Film Friendly Community, selected by the Montana Film Office for the community’s support of the filming of “Robert the Bruce.”