American Indian Tourism Conference to Celebrate Recovery, Economic Importance of Native Hospitality Industry

AIANTA leadership will unveil a new economic impact study measuring the Native hospitality industry at nearly $14 billion

The 23rd Annual American Indian Tourism Conference (AITC) will take place October 25-28 at the award-winning We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort on the ancestral homelands of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation.

The conference, which will return to an in-person format after successfully hosting a virtual event in 2020, expects an attendance of nearly 300 hospitality industry attendees. The conference will be a celebration of “firsts,” with a program that will include:

  • VIP Opening Reception sponsored by the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation and the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort (Oct. 25 at 6 p.m.) Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation President Bernadine Burnette welcomes AITC attendees to the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation at the We-Ko-Pa Grille (at the We-Ko-Pa Golf Club). Also greeting guests is Arizona Office of Tourism Executive Director Debbie Johnson. The evening concludes with cultural performances by Maswadae Drum Group and the Yellow Bird Dancers.
  • AITC Opening Breakfast (Oct. 26 at 8 a.m.) AITC attendees from around the country are encouraged to wear their Native regalia. Also in attendance will be Luther Lee (Navajo), Director of Tribal Engagement; Office of Senator Mark Kelly; Mayor Ginny Dickey, Town of Fountain Hills; President Bernadine Burnette, Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation; Emerson Vallo (Pueblo of Acoma), AIANTA Board President; and AIANTA CEO Sherry L. Rupert (Paiute/Washoe).
  • AIANTA Town Hall (Oct. 26 at 1:30 p.m.) AIANTA leadership will introduce the results of the new Economic Impact of Native Tourism Report revealing that Indigenous tourism in the U.S. is a $14 billion industry.
  • Excellence in Tourism Industry Awards Gala and Silent Auction (Oct. 28 at 7 p.m.). AIANTA awards the best of the best in tourism industry programming. All awardees represent tourism entities that foster a greater understanding and appreciation of authentic culture, history, heritage and/or the arts. This event is open to media by RSVP ONLY.
  • AITC Break Out Sessions (Daily) AITC will also host more than 20 breakout sessions led by industry experts, culture bearers and tribal tourism professionals to help expand and sustain cultural heritage tourism in Native communities throughout the country.

Monday, October 25 through Thursday, October 28

We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort
10438 Wekopa Way, Fort McDowell, AZ  85264

For nearly two decades, the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) has served as the national center for providing tourism and recreational travel technical assistance, training and capacity building to American Indian nations. AIANTA is a 501(c)(3) national nonprofit association of Native American tribes and tribal businesses and was incorporated in 2002 to advance Indian Country tourism. AIANTA’s mission is to define, introduce, grow and sustain American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian tourism that honors traditions and values.

Media are invited to attend any part of the four-day conference but reservations are highly encouraged.  If interested, contact Monica Poling.

Monica Poling
Marketing & PR Manager, AIANTA