Request for Proposal: AIANTA Seeks a Consultant for a Research Study on Native American Tourism & Capacity

Project Name or Description
Study and Report on Native American Tourism Economy and Capacity in American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Tribes, Tribal Organizations and Businesses through Tribal/Native Engagement.

Company Name
American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association, Inc. (AIANTA)

2401 – 12th Street NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104

Contact Person
Sherry L. Rupert, Executive Director; 505.724.3592;

Project Goals and Scope of Services
The American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA), on behalf of the Department of Interior and the Department of Commerce, is seeking the services of an accredited academic institution/consultant to develop and execute a comprehensive plan to facilitate the creation of a study and full report on the Native American tourism economy and capacity. The selected accredited academic institution/consultant will be responsible for the development and implementation of a comprehensive and cost-effective approach to identifying and reporting on Indian Country tourism to include the areas in which technical assistance, training and resources are needed.

AIANTA is the only organization specifically dedicated to advancing Indian Country tourism across the United States.

AIANTA works to build the support structures and resources for tribes to develop, grow and enhance their tribal tourism programming and product. Critical to this effort, AIANTA built support across Indian Country and the greater tourism industry to ensure the passage of the Native American Tourism Improving Visitor Experience (NATIVE) Act of 2016. Further, AIANTA has continued the effort by amplifying tribal voice nationally as the U.S. Congress provided appropriations for implementation of the NATIVE Act in FY 2018 and FY 2019. In 2019, AIANTA was designated as a coordinating partner and charged with fulfillment of Section 4353(d) of the Act. Under Section 4353 (d) of the NATIVE Act, AIANTA is to identify areas where technical assistance is needed and to coordinate the delivery of technical assistance. This project is an integral first step in implementation of Section 4353(d) of the Act.

Since inception, AIANTA has provided technical assistance and training to over 4,000 tribal tourism professionals. Along with the training-based approach to our work, we have successfully marketed Indian Country to the domestic and international visitor markets with over 436 million earned media impressions. Most significantly, according to survey data collected by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Indian Country has experienced a 180% increase in international visitors from 2007 (when AIANTA began marketing Indian Country in the international market place) to 2018.
Our mission is to define, introduce, grow and sustain American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian tourism that honors traditions and values.

For more information about our work and programs, please visit our websites at and

Scope of Proposal
Goal: Develop a study and report on the current state of the Native Tourism economy and capacity in Indian Tribes, Tribal organizations and Native Hawaiian organizations through Native engagement.

Scope of Services:

  1. Develop a plan to work collaboratively with AIANTA for outreach, resulting in effective data collection to be reported to the Department of the Interior, the Department of Commerce and to the U.S. Congress. The plan will include the timeline, process, outreach, data development and data collection to establish a baseline with capacity to be monitored and revisited. (Up to 3 months)
  2. Identify framework for outreach and facilitation of outreach that may include outreach/sessions in each of AIANTA’s six regions, two national forums and eight informal partner outreach sessions to include data collection, feedback and reporting (Up to 6 months).
  3. Implement plan with AIANTA for facilitation of outreach as identified in the outreach framework to collect data specific to what has already been done and the current capacity and impact of Indian Country tourism (Up to 21 months).
  4. Develop a foundational study identifying the current capacity and impact of Indian Country tourism to inform technical assistance and training programs and federal response (Up to 6 months to complete data compilation and report).
  5. A strong proposal will demonstrate:

* Experience working with Tribal Nations and/or Native Alaska tribes/villages and/or Native Hawaiian organizations.

* A strong demonstrable history of developing study and outreach frameworks.

* A strong demonstrable history of outreach, focus groups, etc. to include to American Indian, Alaska Natives and/or Native Hawaiians.

* An understanding of Native American Tourism Improving Visitor Experience (NATIVE) Act.

* Understanding and respect for AIANTA’s mission to define, introduce, grow and sustain American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian tourism that honors traditions and values.

* Note: If you are collaborating with another organization/institution/firm, proposals must include demonstration of partnership from the partner organization (in the form of letters of commitment) along with an outline of the roles and responsibilities envisioned for the partnership.

The project will be conducted in phases over the course of two years and nine months with monthly progress/status reports required. Proposals should include full phasing of the project as outlined in the scope of services.

Anticipated Selection Schedule
12/20/2019 RFP Issued
01/17/2020 Deadline to submit questions via email to
01/22/2020 Responses to questions submitted via Conference Call
02/03/2020 Proposals are due to AIANTA via email submission to
02/2020 Selection of academic institution/consulting firm
02/2020 Contract awarded.
02/2020 Notification re: unsuccessful submissions
03/2020 Phase 1 of the Project Initiated

Time and Place of Submission of Proposals
The RFP will be available and posted on our website, on December 20, 2019.

Respondents to this RFP are asked to submit their proposal via email to Responses must be received no later than February 3, 2020. Responses should be clearly marked with the submitting party’s name in the re: line and emailed to the contact person as listed above.

The project/final report must be completed within two years and nine months.

Elements of Proposal
A submission must,at a minimum,include the following elements:

  • Description of the submitting academic institution/consultant that includes a general overview, names and credentials of the project team to include any supporting partners/partnerships.
  • A one-page narrative outlining the strengths, experiences and distinguishing skills or capabilities as they might relate to this project and to the mission of AIANTA.
  • A representative selection of past, similar research projects and/or reporting to include work with American Indians, Alaska Natives and/or Native Hawaiians.
  • Up to a 5-page narrative describing approach, research elements, tools and timelines to complete the project/report as outlined above.
  • A budget to cover the project phases not to exceed a 33-month timeframe.

Evaluation Criteria
AIANTA will be reviewing the candidates and proposals based on the following criteria:

The successful respondent will:

  • Be an accredited university, college or consulting firm with knowledge of outreach, facilitation, research and reporting on projects and topics inclusive of and/or regarding American Indians, Alaska Natives and/or Native Hawaiians and/or organizations.
  • Have demonstrated skills, experience and proven success in developing and implementing research projects, studies, listening session/outreach plans, data collection, data analytics and reporting inclusive of and/or regarding American Indians, Alaska Natives and/or Native Hawaiians and/or organizations.
  • Have the education, experience, knowledge, skills and qualifications to develop and implement this project to successful completion.
  • Have a demonstrated reputation as a trusted resource for Indian Country.
  • Will demonstrate competitive costs.

Possible Roadblocks
This project is contingent on funding. The first two years of funding have been secured with subsequent phasing to be secured/confirmed based on performance. Please provide a complete project proposal to be completed in a timeframe not to exceed two years, nine months starting at the time contract is finalized.

Project budget is not to exceed a total of $500,000-$600,000 over the two years, nine months.

A Warm Thank You to Our Partners

Bureau of Indian Affairs

Native American Agriculture Fund

Bureau of Land Management

National Park Service

Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail

Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail

NativeAmerica.Travel is AIANTA’s premier destination website, connecting travelers to unique American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian destinations in the United States. Start marketing your destination with us today!

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Education & Training

Technical assistance and training is the heartbeat of our work at AIANTA. We provide general and tailored technical assistance, training and education in a variety of ways.

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International Outreach

AIANTA plays a critical role in supporting the National Travel and Tourism Strategy to bring more visitors to the United States, especially in our participation at trade shows internationally and domestically, to promote tourism in Indian Country.

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Through AIANTA membership, tribes, the tourism industry and other partners form a dynamic network of shared experiences, resources and support.

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