Bringing Italy to Indian Country

AIANTA and Brand USA are Bringing Five Italian Journalists to Arizona and New Mexico for a New, Native Focused Familiarization Trip

AIANTA, in partnership with a multitude of tribal partners, Brand USA, and the U.S. Commercial Service Italy, is hosting a first of its kind familiarization (FAM) tour focused on Indian Country throughout the Southwest. The tour, May 28-June 2, 2017. The tour will take five select Italian travel and tourism press representatives through a unique, experiential tour of Arizona and New Mexico.

For the first time, AIANTA and Brand USA, the destination marketing organization for the USA, are working together to create a completely Native American cultural-focused itinerary. Working with tribal partners throughout the two states, the 6-day tour will garner invaluable editorial coverage featuring tribal businesses, tours and organizations in the quickly growing Italian market.

“This Native American FAM tour will improve the visitor experience to the U.S. by showcasing the incredible experiential opportunities available in Native America,” said Camille Ferguson, AIANTA Executive Director. “The Italian participants will have a chance to visit amazing destinations and have incredible experiences including staying in a traditional Navajo Hogan at Monument Valley, a sunset hike in Window Rock, Arizona, a tour of Acoma Sky City, exploring Santa Fe’s unique Native art scene and more.”

The tour, beginning in Phoenix, Arizona and ending in Albuquerque, New Mexico will have two step-on guides to provide cultural interpretation along the trip. Step on guides include Donovan Hanley from Navajo Nation Hospitality Enterprise and Emerson Vallo of Acoma Pueblo. Mr. Vallo is also a Southwest Representative on AIANTA’s Board of Directors.

“Brand USA is excited to partner with AIANTA and the U.S. Commercial Service Italy to help showcase some of the great cultural heritage and historical experiences in the United States to the Italian travel media,” said Brand USA President and CEO Christopher Thompson. “We have a great partnership with AIANTA and with the U.S. Commercial Service around the world, and this is another example of how we can work together to leverage each of our strengths.”

Italian travel to Indian Country has seen a major increase in recent years. Italy was the seventh largest market generating visitors to Indian Country in 2015, and there was a phenomenal jump in Italian arrivals between 2014 and 2015, with a nearly 80% increase in overseas travelers to Native American destinations. With this strong market growing rapidly, the upcoming FAM tour will help AIANTA in its goal to continue to educate Italian travelers about Indian Country and bring even more visitors from the high-spending travel market directly to Native businesses.

Follow us on our trip, using #AIANTAFAM; #DiscoverNativeAmerica; and #VisitTheUSA

Check out the description of our itinerary below, and click on our partners’ names to learn more about each!

Day 1 | Phoenix / Scottsdale, Arizona: Arrive in Phoenix, Arizona early in the evening, with enough time to enjoy dinner at the Orange Sky Restaurant on the 15th floor of the Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. Here, you will enjoy a fine dining experience with the best sunset views in Arizona and an award-winning wine list. Stay the night at either the Talking Stick Resort or the Courtyard by Marriot, both owned and operated by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community of Arizona.

Day 2 | Grand Canyon National Park / Monument Valley:

Hit the road early in the morning, and head to the Grand Canyon National Park to explore the Desert View Watchtower and Visitor Area located at the south rim of the Grand Canyon. At this newly re-dedicated cultural interpretive center, you will enjoy live artist demonstrations, sightseeing, and authentic Native-made arts and gifts. After sightseeing at the canyon, you will head to the Explore Navajo Museum & Trading Post for additional shopping opportunities and to learn more about Navajo culture. Finally, take a drive to Monument Valley, where you will experience a beautiful sunset tour of the iconic landscape, enjoy Native dance demonstrations, Native foods, stargazing, and stay in a traditional Navajo Hogan with Monument Valley Simpson’s Trailhandler Tours.

Day 3 | Monument Valley / Canyon De Chelly / Window Rock, Arizona:

Wake up with the sunrise at Monument Valley, and head off to the breathtaking landscape at Canyon de Chelly also on the Navajo Nation. Explore Canyon de Chelly with a Native guide with Thunderbird Canyon Tours, and enjoy lunch at the Thunderbird Lodge. In route to your next stop, visit the Hubbell Trading Post, the oldest continuously operated trading post on the Navajo Nation. After lunch, take a drive to Window Rock, Arizona where you will take a breathtaking sunset hike. Stay the night at the Quality Inn Navajo Nation Capital.

Day 4 | Acoma Pueblo / Santa Fe, New Mexico:

Today, you will discover the traditional Native American culture and living history of Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico. Acoma Pueblo is an important part of New Mexico’s cultural heritage, as the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in North America. With an Acoma guide, you will travel to the top of the mesa and take a cultural tour of the “city in the sky.” After your tour, stick around for lunch at the Yaaka Café. Next, head north to Santa Fe, New Mexico where you will explore the renowned art scene, enjoying a Native arts tour at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture on Museum Hill, an exclusive Vault Tour at the Indian Arts Research Center, and then explore the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts. Indulge in a dinner at the La Fonda Hotel, and then stay the night at the beautiful Hotel Santa Fe.

Day 5 | Pojoaque Pueblo / Taos Pueblo / Santa Fe, New Mexico:

Explore two more New Mexico Pueblo communities today, with a tour of the Poeh Cultural Center at Pojoaque Pueblo. In the afternoon, take the scenic drive to Taos, New Mexico and take a guided tour of Taos Pueblo, and enjoy Native inspired lunch in Taos. After your tours, enjoy some additional sightseeing in Santa Fe and stay another night at Hotel Santa Fe.

Day 6 | Albuquerque, New Mexico:

In the morning, take the quick drive to Albuquerque, New Mexico and head straight to the Pueblo Harvest Café to enjoy a breakfast from a renowned Pueblo-inspired menu. After breakfast, take a guided tour of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center and Museum, owned by the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico, and explore the newly renovated museum with exhibits detailing the cultures and traditions of the Pueblos from all around the state. Before you depart from the Albuquerque International Airport, make sure to stop at the Starbucks across the street from the Cultural Center and have a cup of coffee at the first free-standing Starbucks licensed to a tribally-owned company in the U.S.

Destinations and Partners Include:

Talking Stick Resort and the Courtyard by Marriot, both owned and operated by the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community of Arizona

Desert View Watchtower and Visitor Area at the Grand Canyon National Park

Monument Valley Simpson’s Trailhandler Tours

Explore Navajo

Thunderbird Canyon Tours and Thunderbird Lodge

Hubbell Trading Post

The Quality Inn Navajo Nation Capital

Acoma Pueblo

Museum of Indian Arts and Culture

Indian Arts Research Center

IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

La Fonda Hotel

Hotel Santa Fe

Poeh Cultural Center and Pojoaque Pueblo

Taos Pueblo

Pueblo Harvest Café and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

Bureau of Indian Affairs

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail

Native American Agriculture Fund

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail

Bureau of Land Management

National Endowment of the Arts

National Park Service

United States Forest Service