Sky Ute Casino Resort

AIANTA Announces Tourism Conference, 'Introducing America’s Native Nations to the World'


The American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) proudly presents the 17th Annual American Indian Tourism Conference (AITC) “Introducing America’s Native Nations to the World,” hosted by the Southern Ute Tribe of Colorado at the Sky Ute Casino Resort in Ignacio, Colo., September 13 – 17.

The annual AITC provides attendees with a quality educational forum for tribes and organizations with travel and tourism initiatives. As tradition, the conference will kick off with a once in a lifetime experience, exploring the culture and history of our host and surrounding tribes and cultures through interactive mobile workshops. This year the workshops will feature a tour of Mesa Verde National Park, a tour of Chimney Rock National Monument and Southern Ute Tribal Campus, and the Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Durango Tour.

At this year’s conference, AIANTA will be unveiling, highlighting, and featuring a multitude of groundbreaking initiatives and projects from Indian Country’s tourism industry including the launch and debut of a landmark consumer-based Indian Country destination website; updates on the highly anticipated American Indians and Route 66 project as well as the Grand Canyon Desert View Tribal Interpretation project; more information about the recently introduced Native American Tourism and Improving Visitors Experience (NATIVE) Act; and more. 

“Tourism is a 2 trillion dollar industry, and AIANTA strives to inspire tribes across the nation to take advantage of the vast opportunities for economic development that this growing industry presents,” said Camille Ferguson, AIANTA Executive Director. “With all of our exciting new projects this year, we know that our 17th Annual AITC will further the network of resources available to Tribal communities building their economic base through tourism.”

Whether a tribe or tribal organization is just entering the tourism arena and its operations, or has an experienced tourism department - AITC features something for everyone.

The AITC delivers an outstanding lineup of leaders, tourism experts and dynamic speakers and presenters to share tourism knowledge, experience and best practices from around the country and the world.

The conference also includes exhibitors and artisans showcasing arts and destinations from across the country.

RELATED: AIANTA Pushing for Legislation to Give Tribes More Control of Native Tourism

In this year’s sessions, attendees will learn more about tribal tourism and business development, tourism marketing, how to work with the media, the international tourism market and how to enter that market, protection of tribal intellectual and cultural property, federal resources and programs, indigenous and cultural food product and business development, and more.

As the national organization representing the tribal hospitality and tourism industry, AIANTA will once again recognize the best of the Indian Country travel and tourism industry during its fourth annual Enough Good People Awards Banquet and Silent Auction. Enough Good People will be held at the 17th Annual American Indian Tourism Conference in Ignacio, Colorado on Wednesday, September 16, 2015 at 7 p.m.

Featured Keynote Speakers for the 17th Annual AITC include:

·         Clement Frost

Chairman, Southern Ute Indian Tribe

·         Senator Brian Schatz

U.S. Senate, Hawaii (invited)

·         Senator John Thune

U.S. Senate, South Dakota (invited)

·         Ann Marie Bledsoe Downes

Deputy Assistant Secretary, Indian Affairs for Policy and Economic Development, U.S. Department of the Interior

·         Ambassador Keith Harper

U.S. Representative, United Nations Human Rights Council, Geneva (invited)

·         Ben Nighthorse Campbell

Former U.S. Senator, Colorado

·         Joe Garcia

Consultant, Misty Lake; Head Councilman, Ohkay Owingeh

·         David Uberauga

Superintendent, Grand Canyon National Park

·         Bill Hardman

President and CEO, Southeast Tourism Society

·         Pam Inman

President, National Tour Association

·         Sherry L. Rupert

President, AIANTA Board of Directors; Executive Director, Nevada Indian Commission

To register today and learn more about the 17th Annual AITC visit 

To learn more, please visit For current updates, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@OfficialAIANTA).


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