In an attempt to exercise their sovereign rights and entice visitors as the summer tourist season approaches, the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians has announced a new program that encourages all reservation visitors to obtain a free Cherokee Passport. The program goes in to effect today, May 27. Here’s the full announcement:
CHEROKEE, N.C. – With the economy the number one concern and tourism the number one economy in Western North Carolina, the Qualla Boundary, the sovereign nation of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian, today unveils the Cherokee Passport, which it advises all visitors to the Cherokee Indian Reservation to obtain upon arrival. Beginning Thursday, May 27 at 1:30 p.m., Cherokee border patrol officials will conduct checkpoints to issue and verify passports.
The Qualla Boundary is a sovereign nation, and from the late 1700s to the early 1800s, visitors to the Boundary needed a passport to enter. As a reminder of its sovereignty, the Eastern Band is issuing the passport to visitors to jumpstart the local economy on summer’s opening weekend, Memorial Day weekend. Visitors to Cherokee are advised not to wander around Cherokee without a Cherokee Passport.
“Our economy and that of Western North Carolina subsists on tourism,” said Robert Jumper, tourism manager for Cherokee Travel and Promotion. “In support of the area’s businesses and to the help the economy, we have taken a dramatic step to remind visitors that Cherokee is a sovereign nation while providing a pioneering tool full of tourism incentives.”
New this year and full of great discounts at more than 20 shops, hotels, restaurants, retailers, attractions and businesses, the Cherokee Passport is a handy guide to all the activities, adventures and attractions in Cherokee, including 101 FREE Things to Do. It includes a detailed map of Cherokee that identifies participating retailers’ locations, designates hiking trails and ensures visitors can capture on camera and post to Facebook each of the painted bears throughout town. The passport can be picked up at the Welcome Center and its kiosks, all participating retailers and at participating hoteliers.
Additional coupons and discounts will be posted to www.cherokee-nc.com/passport throughout the year. A trip to Cherokee can fit nearly every budget, and the passport will help visitors stay on budget.
Experience authentic Cherokee culture brought to life in genuine, ancient Cherokee legends, history, tradition, song, dance, ceremony and fascinating period regalia. Cherokee offers activities, packages and itineraries that make visiting an affordable pleasure for all ages and interests. Visit cultural sites and enjoy cultural festivals, camping, tubing, hiking, wading, biking, birding, waterfalls, watermills, a pioneer village, cultural attractions, nostalgic shops and motor lodges, family fun parks, petting zoos, more than 30 miles of untamed trout waters, and Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and Hotel. For more information about Cherokee, visit www.cherokee-nc.com.