September 28, 2016

Udall Welcomes President's Signing of New Law to Improve and Grow Tourism in Native Communities

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall welcomed news that the president has signed into law a bipartisan bill he cosponsored, the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience (NATIVE) Act. The new law will require federal agencies with tourism assets and responsibilities to include Tribes and Native organizations in national tourism efforts and strategic planning. And it will give Tribes access to resources to shape their own cultural tourism and awareness efforts and generate new opportunities to spur economic development and create jobs.

Specifically, the NATIVE Act will ensure that New Mexico's 23 Tribes -- and Tribes across the country -- will be included in national tourism programs that provide information about tourist attractions, transportation, bilingual materials and promotional resources, among other things. Tribes can be directly involved in strategic planning so they can provide vital input to identify their needs to increase economic development on Indian Country and determine what they need to promote their historic sites. For example, Acoma Pueblo could choose to steer visitors to the Pueblo to take a Sky City tour, or Taos Pueblo could showcase its unique adobe structures.

"New Mexico's Native communities are rich with culture and history and should have every resource available to enable them to benefit from the tourism industry where and when they choose," Udall said. "I was proud to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation to expand tourism opportunities for Tribal communities - creating good jobs and opening up educational opportunities for travelers in New Mexico and across the country."

The NATIVE Act was supported by a broad coalition of stakeholders including the U.S. Travel Association, American Indian and Alaska Native Tourism Association, Southeast Tourism Society, 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.