Tester introduces bipartisan bill to boost tourism in Native American communities

(U.S. Senate) – Senator Jon Tester, Vice-Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee introduced legislation that will enhance tourism and create jobs in Native American Communities.

Tester’s Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience Act (NATIVE) Act will require federal agencies who promote tourism to include tribes and Native American organizations in their national tourism recruitment efforts.

“In Montana and all throughout the nation, Indian Country offers travelers a rich cultural experience,” said Senator Tester. “This bill will ensure tribes have a seat at the table as the Administration drafts a strategy for increasing tourism, creating jobs, spurring economic growth, and supporting tribal sovereignty.”

The NATIVE Act will also provide Native American communities with access to resources that can help develop sustainable tourism infrastructure.

In 2014, over 11 million tourists visited Montana and spent almost $4 billion. Tourism is Montana’s second largest industry and supports over 55,000 jobs.

Earlier this year, Tester urged the Obama Administration to cancel existing oil and gas leases in the Badger-Two Medicine, a cultural significant area for the Blackfeet Tribe and one of Montana’s most pristine outdoor recreation areas.

Tester’s bipartisan NATIVE Act is also sponsored by Senators Al Franken (D-Minn.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), John Thune (R-S.D.), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.).