President Obama signs native tourism bill into law

hula kapiolani park

Hawaii Senator Brian Schatz’s office announced Monday that President Obama has signed the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience (NATIVE) Act into law.

The bipartisan legislation was introduced by Democratic Senator Schatz and Republican John Thune from South Dakota.

The law aims to enhance and integrate native tourism, empower native communities, and expand unique cultural tourism opportunities in the United States.

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.

The new law is supported by a broad coalition of stakeholders including the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, Sovereign Councils of the Hawaiian Homeland Assembly, 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, and the Native Enterprise Initiative of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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