AIANTA, Italy Press Tour, Simpson Western Tours, Navajo Nation, Monument Valley

Debra Utacia Krol

Simpson Western Tours, a Navajo-owned tour company operating in Monument Valley, gave five Italian journalists a unique view of the iconic region.

AIANTA Press Tour Opening New Avenues for Native Tourism

Italian journalists say ‘benvenuto’ to Southwest Indian country after six-day media tour

Lucio Rossi perches precariously on the bed of a 1970s-era Austrian army troop carrier as it bounces and rumbles through the sandy riverbed running through Canyon de Chelly, Chinle, Arizona. The photographer, who heads the Italian travel magazine Latitudes Life, was seeking the perfect shot of the striated sandstone cliff walls and lush green foliage of one of the Navajo Nation’s most iconic monuments. Rossi is one of five journalists visiting from Italy as part of the first tribal-centric press tour of Southwestern tribal communities.

The American Indian and Alaska Native Tourism Association, the national Native tourism organization that promotes Native visitor destinations, hosted the six-day tour that made its way through Arizona and New Mexico. AIANTA recently received an award from the International Travel Association for its cooperative marketing efforts; that award is being used to leverage efforts to reach Indian country’s largest European markets and increase tourism revenues to an estimated $10.1 billion by 2020.

AIANTA worked with Brand USA, the USA’s destination tourism marketing group, and various tribal partners to sponsor the trip. “I made the funding happen,” says Donatello Osti, a representative of the U.S. Commercial Services in Italy. “We submitted the request to Brand USA in 2016 to support the tour.”

Native-Resorts-Spas-Casinos-Communities-Cover

Download Today! Native Resorts, Spas and Casinos that Support and Reflect the Spirit of their Communities

Read Native Resorts, Spas and Casinos that Support and Reflect the Spirit of their Communities and plan your next trip. Download it right now!


Osti, who accompanied the journalists, AIANTA rep Rachel Cromer and tour guides Donovan Hanley and Emerson Vallo, has worked with AIANTA since January to create the tour. “We targeted journalists who were traveling to the IPW tourism conference in Washington, D.C., June 3,” he says. “We selected top journalists who write for a range of publications,” including business-to-business, consumer and travel outlets, she says.

AIANTA, Italy Press Tour, Donovan Hanley, Navajo Nation, Monument Valley

Debra Utacia Krol

Donovan Hanley (center) led a group of Italian journalists in a whirlwind tour of the Navajo Nation as AIANTA’s first tribal – only fam tour in partnership with Brand USA.

The reporters and photographers delved into daily life in the Navajo Nation and other tribal communities. They slept in a Navajo hogan in Monument Valley, awaking to sunrise warming the rock formations. “They got to see Monument Valley in the early-morning light that otherwise would be almost impossible to experience without staying on the valley floor,” Cromer says.

“Seeing these places with their own eyes provides a perspective that just looking at pictures can’t match,” Cromer says. Meals were served outdoors under the shadow of a sheer rock face, marked with minerals deposited from millennia of rain runoff.

Vallo shared his perspective of the lands and history of Pueblo peoples in the New Mexico portion of the trip. The tour included a tour of the Pueblo’s acclaimed “Sky City,” the original village sited high on a mesa overlooking western New Mexico. They walked the same paths as the Acoma people over nearly 1,000 years of occupancy, the Spanish conquistadors and missionaries, the horses that fouled theil waterhole and the homes that endure to this day. In fact, Cromer notes, “Hearing stories about Native life directly from Native people is what appeals to European visitors.”

The tour also stopped at Hubbell Trading Post in Ganado, Taos Pueblo, Santa Fe museums that spotlight Native art and Buffalo Thunder Resort Casino in the Pojoaque Pueblo. AIANTA partnered with Native-owned venues and tour operators as much as possible in keeping with its mission of promoting and growing tribal tourism.

In addition to gathering rich information for their stories, the journalists also gained a new appreciation for tribal cultures and communities. Paola Baldacci, a writer for the tour operator publication Guida Viaggi, says her outlet reaches about 9,000 travel agents and group tour operators. “The opportunity to see these spaces through Indian eyes is wonderful,” she says. “It brings these places to life.”

Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Credit Card Identification Number

This number is recorded as an additional security precaution.

americanexpress

American Express

4 digit, non-embossed number printed above your account number on the front of your card.
visa

Visa

3-digit, non-embossed number printed on the signature panel on the of the card immediately following the card account number.
mastercard

MasterCard

3-digit, non-embossed number printed on the signature panel on the back of the card.

Enter Your Log In Credentials

Send this to friend

Hi,
I thought you might find this interesting:
AIANTA Press Tour Opening New Avenues for Native Tourism

URL: https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/travel/destinations/aianta-press-tour-opening-new-avenues-native-tourism/