Dear Members and Friends:

The annual celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) is May 3-9, 2020. Started in 1983 by Congress, this year’s theme is the Spirit of Travel.

I have traveled many miles in my life to see and experience the dance and songs of our people and of people of other lands. Many of you were with us at AIANTA’s American Indian Tourism Conference (AITC) last year when we were honored to share the dances of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and their call to practice, teach and share our songs and dances. To witness and participate in the songs and dances of our distinct cultures is a moment of shared humanity – and an act of generosity. We are better for these experiences and often walk away with a new perspective and understanding, with a renewed optimism for humanity and our place in this big world.

As I reflect on the meaning of the Spirit of Travel, I think of these moments when I have been able to experience diverse peoples, their cultures and immerse myself in the sights, tastes, smells of these new places.

As we wait…Let us remind ourselves and others of what will be again.

To celebrate the Spirit of Travel, let’s generously share a universal welcome and prayers of healing for our brothers and sisters and to the world through our shared moments – times and places where we have witnessed the beauty of people and place through travel. We share this collective call for healing as we wait to welcome what will be again.

The photo above is one of my most recent experiences with the aboriginal people of Australia. Memories made for a lifetime, by learning from the people themselves.

Share your Spirit of Travel memories here.

Until we meet again.


Sherry L. Rupert, Chief Executive Officer
American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA)