From Left to Right: BIA Transportation Specialist/Tourism Coordinator, Edward Hall III; AIANTA Executive Director Camille Ferguson; AIANTA Board Secretary and St. Croix Tribal Council Member, Aimee Awonohopay; AIANTA Board President and Executive Director of Nevada’s Indian Commission, Sherry L. Rupert at IPW 2015
Indian Country sees stronger international interest than ever Nation’s Largest Travel Tradeshow
ORLANDO – Last week, the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA), funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), represented Indian Country tourism as part of the BIA booth on Federal Row at the U.S. Travel Association’s 47th Annual IPW (formerly International Pow Wow) in Orlando, Florida, May 30-June 3, 2015.
The AIANTA delegation meets with a Chinese buyer during IPW 2015
AIANTA conducted more than 45 business meetings during the five-day event with journalists, tour operators and consultants from across the globe, all with strong interest in Indian Country tourism.
“As we continue to grow and expand our international outreach efforts, we continue to see increased interest in unique, cultural tourism experiences,” said BIA Transportation Specialist and Tourism Coordinator Edward Hall III. “The strong relationship between AIANTA and the BIA is constantly evolving, and together we are able to give tribes the tools they need to establish their cultural tourism programs so that they’re ready for these travelers,” Hall said.
As part of AIANTA’s presence at IPW this year, four AIANTA representatives, including representatives from the Southwest, Alaska, Midwest and Plains regions, dressed in their traditional regalia, participated in the IPW Marketplace grand opening on June 1. After IPW leadership performed the official ribbon cutting, AIANTA’s representatives helped to lead the team into the Marketplace, alongside Roger Dow, CEO, U.S. Travel; Chris Thompson, President & CEO, Brand USA; Penny Pritzker, U.S. Commerce Secretary and other IPW leaders.
Representing AIANTA and the BIA in Orlando this year included AIANTA Board President and Executive Director of Nevada’s Indian Commission, Sherry L. Rupert; AIANTA Board Secretary and St. Croix Tribal Council Member, Aimee Awonohopay; BIA Transportation Specialist/Tourism Coordinator, Edward Hall III; AIANTA Executive Director Camille Ferguson; and AIANTA PR and Media Specialist Rachel Cromer.
As AIANTA’s international and national network continues to grow, the organization welcomes tribes to provide their own tourism programs and information for promotion through AIANTA at these large travel tradeshows.
Also representing Indian Country at IPW were AIANTA members Chickasaw Nation Tourism, Acoma Sky City, Navajo Nation Hospitality Enterprise, and more.
Federal Row at IPW also included a presence from America’s Byways, America’s Great Outdoors, U.S. Commercial Service, Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Department of State, National Parks Promotion Council, National Park Service, Recreation.gov, National Travel and Tourism Office, Historic Hotels of America and the National Tour Association.
AIANTA Executive Director Camille Ferguson and AIANTA President Sherry L. Rupert Greet U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker during IPW 2015
This year, more than 6,500 delegates from across the U.S. and 73 countries from around the world were present at IPW in Orlando, including thousands of international and domestic buyers and hundreds of media professionals.
IPW anticipates billions of dollars in deals are signed throughout IPW week, with tour operators that will bring more international visitors into the United States.