Albuquerque, New Mexico – On May 22, American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) Executive Director Camille Ferguson presented "International Tourism: A 180 Billion Dollar U.S. Market" at the 8th Annual New Mexico Native American Economic Summit.
The Summit, “Planting the Seed… Harvesting for the Future,” was held at Isleta Resort & Casino in Albuquerque and presented by the American Indian Chamber of Commerce of New Mexico and the State of New Mexico Indian Affairs Department.
Ferguson gave an intriguing presentation, during which she explained the vast economic development opportunities cultural tourism can present for Indian Country and also expounded on the growing trends of international travel to Native American destinations.
“Tourism is one of the best ways for our Native Nations to preserve and share their traditions and history while also advancing economic development in established and rural communities,” Ferguson said. “Our goal at AIANTA is to inspire tribes across the six regions of Indian Country to really focus on their indigenous traditions and incorporate them into a sustainable tourism program.”
No one can tell the stories of Native America like American Indians can, which is why it is critical for AIANTA to educate tribes on the economic development benefits of telling their stories through tourism platforms, Ferguson said.
At the Summit, Ferguson and AIANTA staff are educating attendees on strides the national nonprofit has made across the country and internationally this year, including their award of a top ten booth at the international tourism conference, ITB in Berlin. AIANTA also announced their 16th Annual American Indian Tourism Conference (AITC) to attendees, which will be hosted by the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana in September.