Tester’s bipartisan Native American tourism bill passes out of committee

(Fort Belknap Agency, Mont.)-Senator Jon Tester, Vice-Chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, today released the following statement after his Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience Act (NATIVE) unanimously passed out of committee:

“Indian Country provides visitors a unique and rich cultural experience,” Tester said. “The NATIVE Act ensures that tribes have direct input in the Administration’s strategy to increase tourism in Indian Country. Bringing more travelers to tribal lands will create jobs, spur economic growth, and further support tribal sovereignty.”

Tester’s NATIVE Act will require federal agencies who promote tourism to include tribes and Native American organizations in their national tourism recruitment efforts and provide Native American communities with access to resources that can help develop a sustainable tourism infrastructure.

Many of Montana’s seven Reservations are uniquely positioned for tourism opportunities. Glacier National Park, which borders the Blackfeet Reservation, received over 2.2 million visitors this year.

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.