Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Big Sky Business

Alex Sholly Tyson of Visit Billings knows a thing or two about how to best enjoy a Montana-style gathering

By Amanda Christensen

Out in Big Sky Country, flora and fauna thrive amid mountains, canyons, river valleys, forests, and grassy plains. From Glacier National Park near Kalispell to Yellowstone National Park on the border with Wyoming to the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area located near Billings, the state is ripe with inspiring natural landscapes that make it an easy place to market. And for Alex Sholly Tyson, executive director at Visit Billings, bringing visitors to the city is a heartfelt passion.

Alex Sholly Tyson, executive director of Visit Billings
Alex Sholly Tyson, executive director of Visit Billings in Montana || Courtesy of Visit Billings

“Billings sits between these rugged, 70-plus-million-year-old sandstone cliffs called Rimrocks and the Yellowstone River—which is the longest free-flowing river in the Lower 48,” she says. “Billings is in the heart of Big Sky Country and offers a perfect blend of urban and cultural amenities. So, whether someone is visiting for leisure or business, the destination has something to offer anyone as far as museums, galleries, food, brew scenes, outdoor adventures, and scenic drives.”

And if planners are looking for an expert on the national park scene in and around Montana to help them add a group excursion, Tyson just might be the perfect person for the job. “My upbringing was unique and quite adventurous,” she says. “I was born in Yosemite National Park, California, as the daughter of a National Park Service ranger. My summers were spent in national parks with my dad, including Yellowstone National Park, and my school years were spent in larger cities like Tulsa, Oklahoma; San Antonio and Kingwood, Texas; and Albuquerque, New Mexico, with my mom.” She adds that from mountain biking and hiking to exploring the region on all sorts of other adventures, the Montana lifestyle
is something she has fallen in love with—and wants to share with others.

“I attended Montana State University Billings, focusing on mass and organizational communications—so a marriage of communications experiences and having an innate respect for tourism and travel paved the way for my current role,” she explains. “At face value, Billings might seem like just another Western city. Trust me, it’s anything but average—Billings is full of opportunities, scenic beauty, cultural experiences, history, fun, and incredible people. What’s not to love?”