Hawai‘i Tourism Industry to Spread the Aloha During American Indian Tourism Conference

Kānaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) speakers include Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority President & CEO John De Fries, Kainoa Daines of the HVCB and Daniel Nāhoʻopiʻi of SMS Research.


ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (October 25, 2021) —The Hawai‘i hospitality industry is sharing the aloha at the annual American Indian Tourism Conference (AITC), which is hosted by the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) and unfolds in Fort McDowell, Arizona, Oct. 25-28, 2021. Headlining the conference Tuesday luncheon general session is Hawai‘i Tourism Authority President & CEO John De Fries, who will speak live (via remote) on Managing Hawaiʻi Tourism in a Sustainable Manner.

Also joining AITC is Daniel Nāhoʻopiʻi, Executive Vice President of Honolulu-based SMS Research, who will present data from AIANTA’s groundbreaking new Economic Impact of Native Tourism Report, which will be introduced during the AITC Town Hall (2 p.m.; Tuesday, Oct. 26.) All conference general sessions will be led under the guidance of official AITC emcee Kainoa Daines, the Director of Culture and Product Development for the Hawaiʻi Visitors & Convention Bureau.

The conference also welcomes Vicky Holt Takamine, Executive Director of the PAʻI Foundation, who will speak during the Business of Art seminar (1 p.m., Monday, Oct. 25) and the Building a Tribal Arts Program break out session (2 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 27). Among the artisans exhibiting during the daily Native Art Market (open to the public), Kawika Lum-Nelmida from Pūpūkea, Oʻahu will display his hulu (feather) art. Also sharing Native Hawaiian cultural messaging throughout the conference are Mālia Sanders and Kanoe Takitani-Puahi of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association (NaHHA).

“We are very pleased to welcome our Kānaka Maoli family from across the Pacific,” said AIANTA CEO Sherry L. Rupert. “The Native Hawaiian culture is strong, as are the Native Hawaiian people and their efforts to preserve their stories, language and culture. We are excited to share this aloha with conference attendees.”

During the conference, AIANTA will announce a shifting of its regional representation, which has boosted AIANTA’s regional map from six regions to 15. The new map means expanded regional representation through AIANTA’s Board of Directors, including separating Hawaiʻi into its own region. The state was previously part of the Pacific region.

The American Indian Tourism Conference takes place Oct. 25-28, 2021, at the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort in Fort McDowell, Arizona in partnership with the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. For more information, visit www.aianta.org/aitc.

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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. www.aianta.org

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