AITC 2019 Conference Agenda

AITC 2019 Conference Agenda

(Please click the plus sign next to each item for more information.)

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Explore Tulsa Excursion

10 a.m.-6 p.m.; $10

AITC participants may also purchase an Explore Tulsa Pass for $10, which includes roundtrip shuttle transportation between the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino & Tulsa all day long on Sunday, September 15, 2019.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Mobile Workshop #1: Cherokee Nation History Mobile Workshop

8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; $60

Explore the storied history of the Cherokee People, in the company of Cherokee tour guide, and witness the perseverance of a people who rebuilt and flourished following the forced removal, known as the Trail of Tears.

The tour will visit the Cherokee Nation Capital city of Tahlequah, Oklahoma’s oldest incorporated town, and includes a stop at the new Cherokee National History Museum, which is opening this summer.

Mobile Workshop #2: Chickasaw Cultural Center

7 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; $60

Visit the world-class Chickasaw Cultural Center, one of the largest tribal cultural centers in the United States, and form a close connection with the Chickasaw culture. Don’t miss the First Encounter Documentary, which portrays the actions taken by the Chickasaw that proved to be the catalyst for the dwindling of Hernando de Soto’s mission for gold and riches in America during the late 1530s and early 40s.

During the tour, you’ll also visit nationally recognized Bedré Fine Chocolate, the only tribally owned chocolatier in the country.

Mobile Workshop #3: Muscogee (Creek) Nation History Tour

8 a.m. – 5 p.m.; $60

Immerse yourself in the culture, language, and history of the Muscogee people.

Visitors will be transported back in time to hear how the Muscogee people created Tulsa and built the 1867 Historic capitol of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. Tour the newly restored 1878 Council House and view the thriving culture that is grounded in tradition but adopts modern day principles. Visitors will have multiple interactive opportunities including basket making, cultural demonstration and touring present-day visitor attractions.

The Business of Art

1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Designed for artists, the Business of Art Workshop features practical advice on better promotion and higher sales. in addtion to pricing and marketing, topics include working with your tribe to promote tourism; working with galleries and museums; getting the most from trade shows; collaborating with other artists to develop studio tours; and working with hotels and other local businesses to conduct artist demonstrations/trunk shows.

The event is free for registered artisans and $50 for all others. Reservations are recommended.

Opening Reception
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Sponsored and hosted by Cherokee Nation


Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Coffee with Exhibitors
7 a.m. – 8 a.m.

Native Art Market
(open to the public)
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Blessing | Breakfast | Opening General Session
8 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Refreshment Break with Exhibitors
Sponsored by Citizen Potawatomi Nation
10 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Breakout Sessions (Block 1)
10:30 am – 11:30 am

Breaking Down the NATIVE Act

Section 5 of the NATIVE Act mandates that federal agencies such as the Administration for Native Americans, National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as other agencies with tourism functions, utilize their grant programs to support the efforts of tribal organizations and use the arts and humanities to help revitalize Native American communities. Hear from federal representatives on what funding opportunities are available to tribes interested in strengthening their cultural heritage and tourism programming.

Why Overseas Tourism Matters to Indian Country

In 2018, nearly five percent of the 40 million overseas visitors to the United States reported visiting an American Indian community (VAIC) during their travels, spending big dollars along the way. Native American tourism destinations not incorporating overseas marketing in their business plans risk missing out on an important customer segment, as overseas VAIC travelers are known to stay longer in the U.S. than the average overseas traveler and visit more destinations. In this session, be among the first to see 2018 VAIC data and also get a preview of the international travel picture for early 2019.

Building Tribal Arts Programs

Artists are one of tourism’s greatest assets – sharing culture, producing income for their families and serving as ambassadors for their tribal nation as they travel to artisan shows across the country and around the world. In this workshop, tribal presenters will share how they built their tribal arts programs, from creating trademarks to cooperatives to discussing the benefits of galleries, tours and art markets.

Keynote Luncheon
11:45 am – 1:00 pm
Keynote Speaker: Roger Dow, President/CEO, U.S. Travel Association
Keynote Speaker: Keith Henry, President and CEO, Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC)

Breakout Sessions (Block 2)
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Public Lands Success Stories
Partnerships with the tourism industry are essential components of the USDA Forest Service, the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management operational plans. Representatives from each agency discuss key initiatives and tourism success stories, while also sharing information on what resources are available to tribal entities.
Driving Tourism Through Cultural Centers

Tribes across the nation are investing millions of dollars into stunning new cultural centers, with nearly a half billion dollars’ worth of inventory currently under construction. While these centers are a key component to perpetuating tribal culture, they also serve as hybrid visitor centers and museums, where travelers can experience language, cuisine, heritage and hands-on activities. Representatives from some of the newest facilities as well as one of the originals, speak to the importance of considering the visitor experience when developing cultural programming.

Partnering with RV Clubs to Attract Road Warriors

Annual sales of recreational vehicles has more than tripled in the past decade, with 2018 witnessing nearly a half million RV sales. During this session, the RV Industry Association will share data, trends and tips as well as ideas on how to collaborate with RV clubs to increase your campground revenue.

Breakout Sessions (Block 3)
2:15 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Shared Stewardship: Re-claim Your Narrative by Co-Managing Public Lands

“In 2018, the Sitka Tribe of Alaska partnered with the National Park Service to implement a historic telling of place program, the first compacting agreement of its kind.

Similarly, Navajo Nation, which has an extensive parks system, is charged with collaboratively protecting a portion of the Chaco Culture National Historic Park in partnership with the National Park Service and other federal agencies. Learn how these tribes work collaboratively with the National Park Service and what process they used used to implement co-managed programming.”

Many Roads Lead to Tribal Tourism

The lack of physical infrastructure continues to be a barrier to tourism in some tribal communities. Visitors need to be able to reach the destination in order to experience it. Hear how the Department of Transportation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs are working to improve and maintain transportation systems to provide economic development opportunities and to increase public safety in Indian Country.

Geotourism Along the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail, a new geotourism website promoting sustainable tourism along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, encourages visitors to experience the local culture and heritage, history, food, nature, adventure, water, music and arts along the famed Trail. Attendees will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the new site, with a particular emphasis on tribal inclusion and voice.

Refreshment Break with Exhibitors
Sponsored by Port Madison Enterprises
3:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

NATIVE Act Listening Session / Regional Meetings
(open to the general public)
3:45 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

AITC Preview Reception
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Sponsored by We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort and Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Native Art Market
(open to the public)
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Breakfast and General Session
8 a.m. – 10 a.m.
Keynote Speaker: Jefferson Keel, President, National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)
General Session: Oklahoma Tribal Tourism Panel Discussion

Break with Exhibitors
10 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Breakout Sessions (Block 4)
10:30 am – 11:30 am

Beat the Odds: Casinos Exploring Cultural Narratives

As Indian gaming revenues hit an all-time high in 2018, casinos are also recording huge gains in non-gaming revenues. Learn how casinos are maximizing their non-gaming revenue streams by celebrating tribal heritage through distinctive cultural programming that incorporates culinary arts, artworks and other cultural activities.

Digital Tools for 21st Century Marketing
The Importance of Customer Service in Cultural Tourism Development

While experiences and programming are at the core of every tourism program, customer service is the true key to success. Understanding the value of good customer service, and techniques used to build a better customer service ambassador program will be part of this interactive session. Participants will self-evaluate their communities as a part of learning how to develop a cultural tourism program in their village, reservation or tribal community.

Keynote Luncheon
11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Keynote Speech: Authentically Cultivating Cultural Tourism
Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe, Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians

Authentically Cultivating Cultural Tourism

Known for its deep connections to Palm Springs, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians makes its home on 31,500 acres located within Southern California’s Coachella Valley.

In 2017, the Tribe announced its plans for the new Agua Caliente Cultural Plaza, which includes a 48,000-square-foot cultural museum, a 45,000-square-foot state-of-the-art spa celebrating the Tribe’s sacred Agua Caliente Hot Mineral Spring, an oasis trail and gathering plaza on 5.8 acres at a key intersection in downtown Palm Springs. The new Plaza, opening in Fall 2020, celebrates and honors the history, culture, traditions and modern times of the Agua Caliente people.
During a keynote speech at the American Indian Tourism Conference, on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, Chairman Grubbe will discuss the importance of authentically cultivating cultural tourism, in order to make a positive and lasting difference in the community.

Breakout Sessions (Block 5)
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Limiting Visitor Access

In some cases, purposefully limiting visitor numbers can be the key to better visitor experiences, higher profit margins and, most importantly, a reduction in the negative effects from over-tourism. Panelists discuss the importance of building a sustainable tourism plan to protect your cultural tourism programming.

The Asterisk Nation: The Importance of Data Collection

According to U.S. Census data, the growth in Native American-owned hospitality and tourism businesses over the past decade has far outpaced the overall growth in all Native American-owned businesses. To fully demonstrate the economic importance of tourism to federal and regional representatives, we must find a way to measure ourselves by similar standards. This panel of data experts discusses the importance of data collection and discusses approaches in addressing the unique challenges in measuring Indian Country tourism performance.

Breakout Sessions (Block 6)
2:15 pm – 3:15 pm

The Strategy of Familiarization Tours

Familiarization (Fam) tours are an important component of any destination marketing program. Identify strategies on which themes best attract travel media and/or tour operators and learn how to work with your community to identify potential hosts and ensure community readiness.

Claim Your Spot on NativeAmerica.Travel
Strategic Planning for Cultural Tourism: A Process for Implementing Community and Economic Development

Building a sustainable cultural tourism program requires strategically addressing all assets—cultural, environmental and physical—to establish and maintain a delicate balance between components. But what are the necessary procedures and operations needed to produce a plan that moves beyond a document of good ideas to something real and tangible that results in community and economic benefits? Presenters share lessons learned when building their respective cultural tourism programs. Finally, attendees will be provided with a toolkit for assessing their own cultural tourism programs.

Refreshment Break with Exhibitors
Sponsored by Downstream Casino
3:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Breakout Sessions (Block 7)
3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Tribal Agritourism Development

Learn how developing a tribal agricultural program as a tool for food sovereignty can lead to further economic development by including agritourism elements. Learn about work being done to grow tribal agriculture tourism programs and how tribes are benefiting from developing, growing and enhancing their agricultural businesses.

Six-Steps to Honing Your Tribal Tourism Skills

AIANTA in partnership with the George Washington University have developed a Cultural Heritage Certificate program, which in six weeks, details the key steps to building a cultural heritage tourism program from the ground up, by utilizing careful planning, management and shared stewardship. Take a sneak peek at how to get started building your own program in this workshop led by George Washington University instructors.

Got Press? How to Pitch Media Like a Pro

Salmon recovery, tribal bison programs, the 100th anniversary of the jingle dress and the re-opening of the Stewart Indian School as a museum and cultural center have been some of the Indian Country tourism stories that have received the most press this year. But these stories were not developed in a vacuum. Careful planning and relationship-building can play a big role in whether your story receives coverage or not. Our panel of experts discuss the key components to a successful media relations plan.

Enough Good People Awards Gala & Silent Auction
Sponsored by Mandan Hidatsa Arikara Nation
7 p.m-10 p.m.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Native Art Market
(open to the public)
8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Around The Breakfast Table (Roundtable Discussions)
8 a.m. – 9 a.m.

Breakout Sessions (Block 8)
9 a.m. – 10 a.m.

Welcome Centers on Tribal Lands

Around the world, visitor centers take on many shapes and sizes. Whether it’s a modern, fully-staffed visitor center or a one-person show at the local travel center or a concierge desk staff at the casino or tribal library, there are plenty of ways your tribe can welcome guests. Providing travelers with free area information encourages them to make a stop on their way from point A to B, bringing with them dollars for dining, shopping and even an impromptu stay.

A Native Approach to Sustainable Tourism

The success of a sustainable tribal tourism program can often be measured by the success of the triple bottom line: profits, people and the planet. Learn how the Blackfeet Tribe used the triple bottom line and the Blackfeet ways of “knowing, being and planning” to build an integrated, holistic approach to agriculture, resource management, conservation, food sovereignty and tourism development.

From Camping to Bison Viewing to Forest Therapy, Identifying Opportunities in the Recreation Economy

More than just hiking and fishing, the “Recreation Economy” encompasses a diverse series of activities, ranging from wellness (Forest Therapy) to habitat preservation to agritourism, which can provide a tremendous economic boost to tribal tourism programs, especially those in rural areas. Join US Forest Service and USDA Rural Development, who will highlight Recreation Economy trends and also detail resources Tribes can use to create jobs, improve the economy and grow their recreation programs.

Refreshment Break with Exhibitors
10 a.m. –10:30 a.m.

Breakout Sessions (Block 9)
10:30 a.m.  – 11:30 a.m.

Gold Key Tools for International Tourism Success

The Commercial Service, an arm of the U.S. Department of Commerce, can help U.S. tourism companies drive international travel to their destinations. In this session, Commercial Service officers from the United Kingdom and Italy share tips on utilizing these tools, which can include in-market research, tourism trade shows and events, and one-on-one assistance. Also learn about travelers from the U.K. and Germany—two of the top overseas markets to Indian County—who spend more and stay longer than the average international visitor.

Itinerary Building

Learn how to leverage relationships with tour operators and receptive operations in order to bring more visitors to your destination, attraction, hotel or restaurant. Learn how partnering, networking and collaborating on itineraries can help you build a successful tourism program.

Developing a Tribal National Park

Tribes are increasingly converting pristine acreage into tribal national parks, which provide a habitat where endangered species can grow, acreage for a dedicated food sovereignty program and a space where visitors can go to avoid the crowds found at larger national park sites. Learn how Blackfeet Nation, Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa and Navajo Parks and Recreation took steps to develop protected lands and what they are doing to continue to preserve and protect those spaces.

Keynote Luncheon | Closing General Session
11:45 am – 1:00 pm
Nick Mattera, Brand USA

Drawing; must be present to win

For more information, visit the American Indian Tourism Conference home page.