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Native Tourism Bill Signed Into Law; New Law Will Help Native Communities Tell Their Own Stories


September 26, 2016
Monday PM

(SitNews) Washington, D.C. - A bill to enhance and integrate native tourism, empower native communities, and expand unique cultural tourism opportunities in the United States, the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience (NATIVE) Act, was signed into law Friday by President Obama.

This bipartisan legislation - introduced by U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and John Thune (R-S.D.) - will enhance and integrate native tourism, empower native communities, and expand unique cultural tourism opportunities in the United States.

Senator Schatz said, “This new law gives our native communities a real opportunity to grow their local economy and share their history and culture with the rest of the world.”

Schatz said in a news release, "The NATIVE Act will require federal agencies with tourism assets and responsibilities to include tribes and native organizations in national tourism efforts and strategic planning. It will also provide Native Hawaiian, Alaska Native, and American Indian communities with access to resources and technical assistance needed to build sustainable recreational and cultural travel and tourism infrastructure and capacity; spur economic development, and create good jobs."

U.S. Senators Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) are cosponsors of the NATIVE Act. Congressman Don Young (R-AK) co-sponsored companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“This important piece of legislation will give cultural tourism a much-needed boost,” said Senator Murkowski. “Tourism contributed $3.9 billion to Alaska’s economy last year, and this bill will give Alaska Native communities and small businesses the opportunity to share their traditions and cultures with travelers from all over the world.”

“Working towards diversifying our economy is extremely important and this bill helps in that effort,” said Senator Sullivan. “For rural Alaska, the economic development potential is huge, and it will also help to showcase for the rest of the world rural Alaska’s uniqueness and beauty.”

“Alaska is recognized as a premier travel destination, not only for our state’s abundant beauty but for our welcoming people and rich cultural history,” said Congressman Young. “The NATIVE Act, which I proudly co-sponsored in the House, makes important steps to empower Alaska Native and American Indian communities by increasing collaboration and coordination of federal efforts to promote tourism in these areas. Tourism is a significant source of revenue and employment for Alaskans, and this legislation ensures Alaska’s culture and heritage is supported throughout our federal tourism programs.”

“The American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) applauds the Alaska's leadership, Senator Sullivan, Senator Murkowski and Congressman Don Young for their support and co-sponsorship of the NATIVE Act.” said Camille Ferguson, AIANTA executive director. “This legislation will forever impact the ability of American Indian and Alaska Native Tribes and Native Hawaiians to promote their authentic stories through tourism, while also providing increased opportunity for economic development and cultural sustainability for tribes especially in rural areas.”

According to a news release, the bill is supported by a broad coalition of stakeholders including the U.S. Travel Association, American Indian and Alaska Native Tourism Association, Western States Tourism Policy Council, National Congress of American Indians, Alaska Federation of Natives, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Native American Contractors Association, and the Native Enterprise Initiative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.


On the Web:

Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience (NATIVE) Act



Reporting & Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

Office of U.S. Senator Brian Schatz

Office of U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski

Office of U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan

Office of U.S. Rep. Don Young

American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA)


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