Visit Native California is the name of a new initiative established by Visit California in partnership with state officials and tribal leaders of local Native communities. The goal of the initiative is to put a spotlight on California’s Native communities and cultural tourism experiences.

California has over 100 federally-recognised Native tribes, represented by a range of cultural tourism experiences including cultural centres and museums, as well as hiking, boating and food tasting activities.

A federal grant of around €1 million was awarded to help raise awareness of cultural heritage and tourism experiences, as part of the American Rescue Plan Act. The money will go towards the Visit Native California online platform.

“Visit California is honoured to create a platform that showcases the rich cultural heritage of the Native Americans who have called this place home for thousands of years,” said Visit California President and CEO Caroline Beteta.

“We’re committed to partnering with California’s tribes and creating spaces to uplift and honour their voices, communities and cultures.”

“As the state with the highest population of Native Americans, and one of the nation’s leading tourism destinations, California is poised to drastically boost national Native tourism promotion and interest with this undertaking,” said Sherry Rupert, CEO of the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association.

“We’ve seen the economic benefits that come from uniting under a common banner, but more importantly we see the power of cultural tourism to support preservation and perpetuation of our culture. This is a tremendous opportunity for California’s tribes.”

The announcement of the programme was made at the Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza in Palm Springs, a museum centring on the native communities of the Coachella Valley.

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