by Emily Coombs
on Wednesday, April 14th, 2021 at 2:52pm.
With vaccinations ramping up across the country, so are travel plans, and airlines are taking notice! Since COVID-19 hit last March, the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport has made twelve announcements of new service coming in. The most recent addition, Avelo Airlines, American’s first new airline in nearly 15 years, announced nonstop service to Bozeman from Burbank, CA. This brings the total to 30 nonstop flights to summer markets, in 20 states across 10 airline brands. That’s quite a schedule! Available seats for May-October, 2021 is expected to increase by 65% over the previous record set in 2019.
It’s not just airlines who are seeing the increased demand. Hotels, short-term rentals and guest ranches are all seeing higher than normal bookings, with some places already sold out for the summer.
Event planners are back at it full time. Around the area, rodeos, live music, and outdoor festivals are carefully monitoring Health Department guidelines with hopes to have some events back up and running this summer.
Yellowstone National Park opens to vehicles for the summer season beginning this Friday, April 16, 2021. The park saw record visitation in August and September of 2020 and is anticipating a busy season again this year. Many of the campgrounds are now reservation only, and word is they are filling up fast, so be sure to book early.
It’s not just park campgrounds that are popular, the RV industry is booming. The Billings Gazette reported recently, “According to the RV Industry Association, a group that represents the majority of US RV manufacturers, nearly 12 million Americans already own a camper. That’s the highest number ever recorded — and more owners are on the way.”
And, if you’re looking to rent a car, definitely reserve it now. This past year, rental car companies sold much of their fleets in an effort to stay afloat. Now, they are facing a shortage, causing limited availability and higher than average rates.
Sounds like it’s going to be a fun summer! Remember, Gallatin County still has a mask mandate in place. Please be kind and respectful to businesses as they navigate the safety of our community and our visitors.