ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (February 7, 2024) – Albuquerque-based national nonprofit American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) hosted its annual two-day Go International training conference at the historic Indian Pueblo Cultural Center on February 6-7. This signature event was designed to introduce the international tourism industry to American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian businesses and to help them take that critical next step of becoming export ready to generate sales to markets overseas.
American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian owned hospitality businesses contribute $15.7 billion in annual sales to the tourism and hospitality sector in the U.S. For more than 25 years, AIANTA has worked to address inequities in the tourism system as the only national organization dedicated to advancing cultural tourism in Native Nations and communities across the United States. This 8th annual event titled, “Expanding Native Cultural Tourism Globally: Successful Engagement in the International Travel and Trade Markets” was designed for participants to develop and advance their businesses, careers and tourism ventures for enhanced representation and expanded networks to the global marketplace.
AIANTA and CEO Sherry L. Rupert welcomed an all-star speaker lineup to Go International, comprised of the hospitality industry’s leading voices including Chris Ellis of Brand USA, the destination marketing organization of the U.S.; Sebastien Desnoyers-Picard, Vice President – Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada; Indy Vallejos, Director – U.S. Department of Commercial Services; Nate Huff, President – Tourism Exchange USA; Lisa Simon, CEO/Executive Director – International Inbound Travel Association; Lancing Adams, Acting Cabinet Secretary – New Mexico Tourism Department; Emily Edenshaw, President and CEO – Alaska Native Heritage Center; Kate Anderson, AIANTA Board Representative and Director of Public Relations – Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians; Crystal Van Kull, General Manager – Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours; Florian Herrmann, CEO – Herrmann Global, among other valuable contributors.
“Now in its eighth year, AIANTA’s annual Go International training conference offers a unique opportunity for Indigenous tourism leaders to gain direct access to and insights from the hospitality industry’s leading voices,” said AIANTA CEO Sherry L. Rupert, AIANTA. “This hands-on workshop is a cornerstone for Indigenous tourism development as American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian owned hospitality businesses continue to build upon the $15.7 billion Indigenous hospitality sector of travel and tourism in the United States.”
Go International gives Indigenous tourism professionals the chance to expand their reach beyond our borders and showcase the incredible cultural diversity and heritage of Native Nations and communities to a global audience. Throughout the event, experts and industry leaders provided insights on international tourism trends, marketing strategies, and best practices for engaging with international visitors, while providing successful case studies and networking with attendees as they shared visions and goals for business, Native Nations and communities, and tourism development.
Native Nations and communities who are looking to start or expand their cultural tourism footprint can find resources at www.aianta.org and visitors interested in learning more about Native culture can visit www.nativeamerica.travel.