Hospitality Industry Leaders to Highlight AIANTA’s Go International Workshop

Hospitality industry’s leading voices will be lending their expertise to Go International, an annual, hands-on workshop designed to guide tribal tourism enterprises through conceptualizing and growing their packaged travel offerings.

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (March 22, 2021) – The American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) has announced an all-star keynote speaker lineup for its annual Go International educational workshop, which will be held virtually, April 21-22, 2021.
“This is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for tribal tourism representatives to have direct access to some of the industry’s leading hospitality professionals,” said Sherry L. Rupert, CEO of AIANTA. “Not only will our speakers share real-world tips on what works and what doesn’t in their own award-winning programming, but they will be available to answer questions and provide feedback based on decades of hospitality industry experience.”
Designed to guide tribal tourism businesses in keeping up with the rapid shifts in the packaged travel landscape, Go International features expert speakers and hands-on, interactive presentations. Participants will leave the workshop with an actual, ready-to-sell tourism itinerary in their hands.
Keynote speakers include:
Dr. Kathleen Andereck, Director, Vice Dean & Professor, Arizona State University
Dr. Kathleen Andereck is the Director and Vice Dean of the Hainan University-Arizona State University International Tourism College and a Professor in the School of Community Resources and Development at ASU. Dr. Andereck is also a Senior Sustainability Scientist with the ASU Global Institute of Sustainability. Her research and teaching focuses on the tourism experience from the perspective of both visitors and residents particularly as it applies to sustainable community tourism development. Some of her specific areas of interest include tourism and quality of life, residents’ attitudes toward tourism, volunteer tourism and visitors in outdoor recreation settings. She has conducted recreation and tourism research work with a diversity of organizations and agencies at the federal and state levels, as well as the Navajo Nation, Hopi Tribe, the Colorado River Indian Tribes and the Hualapai Tribe.
Diana Ditto, Senior Director of Brand Experience, Collette
Overseeing the strategy, positioning and storytelling of the Collette brand, Diana Ditto began her career with Collette in 2013 overseeing product development for the UK, Ireland and Northern Europe, which she grew to be the most sought-after destination for Collette. Prior to Collette, she worked for Travel Dynamics International, as well as Robin Tauck & Partners where she used her expertise in tourism marketing and cultural heritage preservation to aid in the development of integrated marketing strategies for emerging tourism destinations. Diana holds a master’s degree in Tourism and Travel Management from New York University’s Preston Robert Tisch Center, as well as a bachelor’s degree in Art History from Fairfield University.
Camille L. Ferguson, Economic Development Director, Sitka Tribe
A citizen of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska and a member of the Kiksadi Clan, Camille Ferguson is the Economic Development Director for the Sitka Tribe of Alaska where she is responsible for developing new projects as well as overseeing the Tribes’ tourism program, gaming operations, the Tribal tannery and the Community House Convention Facility. She served as Executive Director of AIANTA for more than six years. Ferguson continues to serve on the National Advisory Committee on Transportation Tourism Infrastructure (NACTTI) and was recently elected to the U.S. Travel Association’s Board of Directors, only the second-ever Native American to serve on that board. During her term, she plans to augment her work with elected officials in advocating for the importance of including tribal tourism in the national tourism message.
Richard Launder, President and CEO, Destination America
Richard Launder is President and CEO of Destination America (DA), which is one of 40 travel companies that make up The Travel Corporation (TTC), one of the largest privately owned travel companies in the world. Richard has worked within TTC since 1983 when he joined as a very young bartender and later as a Travel Director. In more recent times, he was President of Contiki Vacations in the U.S for 12 years, President of Destination America for four years and President of TTC USA for 14 years prior to retaking his role at DA in 2018. He has also served as a board member and active participant at USTOA for more than 30 years.
Anand Nachtajler, Travel Experiences Developer, Destination America
Anand is originally from a small fishing village on the coast of Brazil. He moved to Northern California 20 years ago and studied anthropology at California State University, Sacramento. Gaining a deeper appreciation for culture, language and archaeology, he coordinated several trips within the west coast states for Trafalgar and Insight Vacations. In 2019 he joined the Travel Experiences Development team in Orange County where he now manages the Latin American programs as well as some of the U.S. trips through the Southwest region.
Catherine Prather, CTP, President, National Tour Association
Catherine Prather, President of the National Tour Association, first joined the team in 1994. She focuses on strategic continuity, member engagement and professional development to ensure NTA’s long-term growth and viability. Catherine has been appointed to the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, which serves as an advisory body to the Secretary of Commerce on government policies and programs that affect the U.S. travel and tourism industry and offers counsel on current and emerging issues. Catherine has earned NTA’s Certified Tour Professional designation and is a graduate of Transylvania University with a bachelor’s degree in English.
Kenneth Shapiro, Vice President, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, TravelAge West
Under Kenneth Shapiro’s guidance, TravelAge West has received numerous national and international editorial and design awards. Ken is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and has won writing awards from several organizations, including the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA). For more than 10 years, he worked for consumer magazines and book publishers in New York City. After moving to Los Angeles, he became Destinations Editor at TravelAge West, followed by Editor-in-Chief and eventually Vice President, Publisher/Editor-in-Chief.

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.

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Monica Poling
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