Sep 11, 2012 4:27 PM by Chet Layman
Millions of people visit Yellowstone National Park every year and most of them enter the park through Montana. Getting them to stay in the state is the focus of the Montana tourism industry, through visitor centers across the state. Now the state's busiest tourism information center has gone high tech so visitors can download maps instead of trying to remember how to fold them.
"It's amazing the number of people that actually walk in the door and say, 'I'm here and have made no plans and want to experience everything good about Montana and everything good about Yellowstone.' We help them put things together, and since most people are visual so those images really help," Jan Stoddard with the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce said.
The state tourism industry has helped the West Yellowstone Tourism Information Center by installing iPads where notebooks used to be, making access to Montana much easier and much more user friendly. Visitors sign the iPad guestbook and can have their name added to an email list if they choose.
Now, Montana tourism information is, literally, in the palms of their hands.
Stoddard says the information provided through the iPads is much more permanent than fliers or brochures ever were.
"A lot of people may leave a printed brochure sitting on their dashboard, but who's going to leave their phone? So it is neat to have that permanent piece of Montana always carried with them."
Center employees are on hand to help anyone who is not familiar with using the technology. Stoddard says more than 113,000 people visit the West Yellowstone Tourism information Center each year.