State of Indian Country Tourism

  • Tribal tourism enterprises are remarkably upbeat about tourism prospects, with nearly 75 percent indicating they believe tourism will increase greatly (28%) or somewhat (47%) in the coming year.
  • Although tribal tourism enterprises welcome visitors from a variety of international markets, more than one third (34%) indicated Germany is a top inbound market. The second-most important markets are China (28%) and Canada (24%).
  • In general, tourism entities attribute increases in visitation to increased marketing efforts (58%). To a lesser extent growth is attributed to increased political support (18%),
  • One third (33%) of respondents indicated they expect to increase tourism employment for the coming year.

Source: AIANTA’s State of Indian Country Tourism; Spring 2019

American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Owned Businesses


Total American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian (AIANNH)-owned businesses (across all sectors), reflecting a 22% percent growth from 2007 to 2012. (Growth of all U.S. firms was just 2% during that same period.)

$38.8 Billion

Receipts for all American Indian and Alaska Native-owned businesses in 2012. (Excludes Native Hawaiians; source: U.S. Census Press Release)



In 2012, there were 67,248 AIANNH hospitality-related businesses in the United States, reflecting a 59% growth since 2007. This growth rate well surpassed the 22% growth rate of all AIANNH businesses and the 2% growth rate of all American firms.

Hospitality sectors include all businesses included in the Census-designated “Art, Entertainment & Recreation,” “Accommodation & Food Services,” “Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting” and “Retail Trade” NAICS categories.

$7.681 Billion

Total receipts for all AIANNH hospitalitysector businesses in 2012 equalled $7.681 billion.


The increase in paid employees in AIANNH businesses (across all hospitality sectors.)

Tourism to the United States

  • Tourism is America’s number one service export.
  • According to the U.S. Travel Association, domestic and international travelers spent $1036 billion dollars in the U.S. in 2017, creating 8.8 million jobs and generating $165 billion in local, state and federal tax revenues.
  • Domestic travelers spent $880 billion (a 5.2 percent increase over 2016) and international visitors spent $156 billion in the U.S. (roughly the same as 2016).
  • In 2016, approximately 1.96 million overseas travelers visited Indian Country.
    The increase in travelers to Indian Country accounted for more than 41,000 new U.S. jobs in 2016.
  • The number reflects a 180 percent increase in overseas visitors since 2007 when AIANTA began its international outreach efforts.
  • According to the National Travel and Tourism Office, overseas travelers to Indian Country, a subset of travelers know as Cultural Heritage Travelers, have a far greater impact on the U.S. economy than overseas visitors as a whole.
  • They stay longer— an average of 30 days compared to 18 days for all overseas visitors.
  • They visit more states— an average of 2.4 states compared to 1.5 for all overseas visitors.
  • They visit more destinations— an average of 3.6 cities compared to 2 cities for all overseas visitors.
  • They visit more National Parks, small towns, historical locations, art galleries and museums, fine dining establishments, and cultural, ethnic and heritage sites compared to all overseas visitors.

Overseas Tourism

Visit American Indian Community

  • In 2019, 4.7 percent of the 40.4 million overseas visitors to the United States reported visiting an American Indian community (VAIC) during their travels.
  • In total. 1.9 million overseas travelers reported visiting an American Indian Community in 2019.
  • Overseas VAIC travelers stay longer in the U.S. than the average overseas traveler and visit more destinations.

Data source: 2019 U.S. Travel and Tourism Statistics
Sector Profile: Visit American Indian Communities
National Travel & Tourism Office, U.S. Department of Commerce.

This profile contains inbound traveler volume and profile trends for residents of overseas countries who visited the United States and visited an American Indian community during their trip.

NTTO Presentations

Tribal Gaming

The Economic Impact of Tribal Gaming

  • $105 billion in output (value of sales);
  • 676,000 jobs (measured as FTEs);
  • $36 billion in wages to employees; and
  • $15 billion in taxes and revenue share payments to federal, state and local governments.

Source: The Economic Impact of Tribal Gaming: A State-by-State Analysis, November 2018

Tribal Nation Economies

California Tribes

  • 63,000 jobs statewide (2014)
    • An addtional 21,000 jobs in non-gaming operations, a nearly 50% increase in just 2 years
  • $3.3 billion in worker earnings
  • $400 million in state & local tax revenue
    • An addtional $80 million in state & local tax revenue
  • $7.8 billion in economic output
  • Added $5 billion in value to the California economy
    • An additional $3.3 billion in non-gaming economic output

Source: 2016 California Tribal Government Gaming Impact Study, January 2015


Connecticut Tribes–Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation

  • $273 million–Revenue from the Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Tribes in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018 was $273 million, nearly a third of the $921 million Connecticut realized in corporation tax revenue for the same year.

Connecticut Tribes–Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation

  • 12.8 million visits–Foxwoods and the Tribe’s allied businesses attract more than 12.8 million visits per year—an average of 35,000 visits daily; More than 75% of Foxwoods’ gaming dollars in 2017 came from out-of-state patrons.
  • 12,500 jobs–MPTN employed 12,500 people in Connecticut in 2017; 9,702 people were employed at the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation.
    • 6,772 empoloyees at Foxwoods and other tribal enterprises..
    • 2,386 employees in non-tribal retail stores and restaurants on the reservation.
  • $1.1 billion–estimated direct, indirect, and induced impacts of the economic activity of the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in 2017.
  • $145 million–Direct Connecticut state and local government revenue
  • $180 million payroll–Regular and overtime earnings; an addtional $144 million was paid in benefits. More than four-fifths of this Connecticut payroll was paid in the state’s poorest zip codes.
  • $31 million in federal taxes–MPTN withheld $31 million in federal income taxes, $8.8 million in state income taxes, and $40 million in Social Security and Medicare taxes.
  • Eight largest employer in the state–The combined employment of MPTN operations, Foxwoods and other tribal enterprises,and the other businesses located at Foxwoods would rank the Tribe the eighth-largest employer in the state of Connecticut above Wal-Mart and below the University of Connecticut.
  • Thirteenth-largest employer in the state–Foxwoods Resort as a single entity ranks thirteenth in the state, above Trinity Health of New England and below Mohegan Sun and The Hartford.
  • $2.7 billion–Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation has invested more than $2.7 billion in Foxwoods Resort Casino since its inception.

Source: Economic Impacts of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, July 2019


Idaho Tribes

  • 7,361 direct employees by the Five Tribes of Idaho, making them of the state’s top 10 employers
  • 13,840 direct and indrect jobs supported by the five tribes of Idaho
  • 1,886 workers employed by casinos and related operations
  • 500,000+people visit Idaho tribal casinos per year.
  • 60% of casino visistors are from out of state
  • 506 available hotel rooms at Tribal casinos across the state
  • $479 million in earnings (payroll)
  • $820 million in gross gaming revenue before payouts and prizes.
  • $653 million Gross State Product (represents 1% of the gross state product in 2013.)
  • $1.1 billion total annual sales transactions from tribal economic activity, including multiplier effects,
  • $39 million in taxes

Source: Economic Impacts of the Five Idaho Tribes on the Economy of Idaho, January 2015


Minnesota Tribes

  • 23 million visitors–Minnesota Indian casinos attract almost 23 million visitors each year, including
    more than 2.4 million from outside of the State of Minnesota.
    • Combined, Indian gaming would rank as the second-largest tourism attraction in the State of Minnesota, second only to the Mall of America
  • $0.5 billion annual payroll-Tribally-owned casinos and non-gaming enterprises (on and off reservation) pay more than half a billion dollars in earnings and benefits annually to their employees.
    • Payroll generates approximately $126 million in payroll-related taxes each year
  • 15,287 employees (annual average)
    • 13,371 employees at Minnesota Indian casinos and related ancillary facilities;
    • 1,916 employees at non-gaming tribal enterprises
  • 75.9% of all tribal enterprise employees are full-time;l
    • 50.3% female;
    • 11.8% tribal members,
    • 17.8% members of other tribes,
    • 60.6% Caucasia; and
    • 9.9% other minorities.
  • Combined Indian casinos and related ancillary facilities would
    make Indian gaming the 14th largest employer in Minnesota
  • More than $717 in annual purchases for goods and services for on-going operations,including more than $482.0 million from venders in the State of Minnesota.
  • Over the past 25 years, Minnesota Tribes have invested more than $2.5 billion in their casinos and Tribally owned enterprises both on and off the reservation,
    • Neraly $200 million in 2015,
    • Another $300 million of
      investment (projected) in 2016-17.

Source: Economic Impacts of indian Gaming in Minnesota, August 2016


Oklahoma Tribes

  • 50,000 employees across all Oklahoma Tribal nations
  • 96,177 direct and indirect jobs
  • $4.6 billion in wages and benefits
  • $13 billion impact on the state in 2017
  • Tribal nations bring $42.5 million in federal dollars to the State of Oklahoma
  • $1.5 billion paid to the state in exclusivity fees from gaming operations (Since class III games were enacted)
  • $200 million invested in Oklahoma roads and bridges (since 1980)

Source: Tulsa World, July 19, 2019


Washington Tribes

  • 30,715 jobs–In 2017, Washington tribes recorded more empoloyees than Safeway & Albertsons (8th) and Walmart (9th).
  • 55,661 (at least) direct and indirect jobs in Washington are traceable to the economic activity of tribal governments
  • $1.5 billion in employee compensation.
  • $374 million in new infrastructure: In 2017, tribal governments invested more than $374 million in construction of hotels, community centers, travel plazas, roads, clinics and more.
  • 30% growh in income. Average Indian income on Washington’s reservations grew by 30 percent from 1990 to 2017.
  • $5.6 billion in direct, indirect,and induced economic benefits. Recurring tribal economic activity yielded more than $5.3 billion in gross state product, which produced an estimated $722 million in state and local government revenue.
  • $5.7 billion in gross state product.

Source: The Economic & Community Benefits of Tribes in Washington, 2019


Cultural Tourism Facts & Figures

Adventure Travel Trade Association

  • Adventure travel companies say their travelers are motivated chiefly by “new experiences” and that they want “to travel like a local,” and they’re more motivated by cultural encounters than wellness goals or engaging in adventure travel as a status symbol.
  • 43% of adventure travel tour operator clients are between the ages of 51-70.
  • Customizable itineraries remain the most requested trip type, though remote destinations and trail experiences have jumped in popularity.

Source: Adventure Travel Trends Snapsot, Adventure Travel Trade Association; 2019


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