This month, the Montana Department of Tourism reaching out to businesses near Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park to help inform them about the culture and customs of visitors from China. Office of Tourism Spokesman Dan Iverson explained why China has become such a focus.

"Last year, Montana hosted more than 200,000 visitors from overseas, and we don't have numbers specific to China, but we do know that travel from China to the U.S. is growing, and Montana is definitely a part of it," Iverson said. "The U.S. Department of Commerce has actually projected that Chinese visitors to the U.S. will grow 39 percent over the next five years by 2018."

Iverson was asked if the appointment of former Senator Max Baucus as Ambassador to China had anything to do with the new focus.

"We hope that that's an opportunity, certainly, and I know the governor recently completed his trade mission there," Iverson said. "I believe that was focused a lot more on investment and tourism infrastructure, but certainly we will accept any visitors we can get."

The free workshops will be offered Oct. 13 at the Holiday Inn in West Yellowstone and Oct. 15 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Kalispell. The program is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and includes a complimentary lunch.

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