The annual Montana Tourism Awards recognize the outstanding accomplishments of the people, businesses, organizations and communities that strengthen Montana's tourism and recreation industries and thereby contribute to maximizing its economic impact for Montana residents. 

The following are the award categories and winners announced at the 2022 Governor's Conference on Tourism and Recreation.

2022 Film Community of the Year: Butte, Montana

Film is a powerful medium for attracting visitors to a destination, and in Montana, the landscape truly speaks for itself. But filmmaking is a lot of work, and it takes a village—or in this case, a community—to make it successful. From lodging to crew and even locally sourced equipment, Montana communities provide tremendous support for film productions, and in return, benefit from the significant economic impact. For the Film Friendly Community award, nominees and the winner are selected by the Montana Film Office based on their assistance and support of a specific project or projects filmed in their communities.

No Montana film production can be successful without involvement and assistance from local partner. It requires a welcoming community with warm and friendly people. And, one with a willingness to try new things.  The 2022 Film Community of the Year created an atmosphere of collaboration, and it’s a pleasure to work with this community.

2022 Legacy Award: Gayle Fisher

This is the "lifetime achievement award" for a Montana tourism professional. It is awarded to an individual to recognize his/her history of dedication and significant positive contributions to tourism and recreation at the community, regional or statewide levels.

As sure as the Missouri River flows across nearly the entire state of Montana, so has our Legacy winner been an inspirational and powerful force in the tourism industry. Over the nearly 42 years in the industry, many have described her as a “tremendous mentor”. She amazes others by her depth of knowledge, experience and history while also being forward thinking in her approach and open to new and progressive ways of reaching and inspiring potential visitors.

Our winner never shies away from a challenge, is always seeking new and creative solutions, and works tirelessly to tell the story of our beautiful state. Her creativity and enthusiasm are contagious. Whether it is attending a travel show, providing leadership to the organizations’ board members, tasting pies “ala road” for the successful pie trail, pulling the car over to capture a perfect photo, or educating small communities on the impact of tourism once she has an idea, she sees it through to fruition. She has been, and will likely always be, a true ambassador and remarkable advocate for Montana tourism and is incredibly deserving of this honor.

2022 The Heritage and Cultural Tourism Award: The Montana Dinosaur Trail

This award recognizes contributions to the promotion and celebration of Montana’s authentic and unique culture or natural history as an important attraction for visitors and Montana residents alike.

Dinosaurs present the unknown – they ruled our planet for over 100 million years, and yet we know so little about them. We have to take a trip back in time and – piece by piece – put together their stories. It is our innate curiosity that has driven us to study these creatures. In Montana, we are privileged to host some of the richest dinosaur fossils, and the state boasts some of the most important discoveries and renowned paleontologists. This statewide trail runs across Montana and consists of 14 locations from the Montana Dinosaur Center in Bynum to the Carter County Museum in Ekalaka. Each location offers a glimpse at the historic discoveries in the state and provides visitors with a better understanding of the giants that once inhabited our planet.    

2022 The Tourism Destination of the Year: The Community of Red Lodge

This award recognizes outstanding achievements to advance tourism through marketing, product development, destination events and activities, or compelling experiences in the tourism industry.

Nestled against the Beartooth’s, Montana’s highest mountain peaks, Red Lodge is a place of extraordinary beauty with great shops, eateries, lodging options, genuine warmth, and a welcoming, Western-style hospitality all of which landed the community of Red Lodge on the runner up list of the 10 Favorite Places in America by Roger Brooks of the Destination Development Association in 2021.