“Tourism allows us to introduce America’s First Nations to the world, and international visitors flock to our homelands,” said Tina Osceola in a press release, president of AIANTA’s board of directors and an executive officer for the Seminole Tribe of Florida. “Tribal tourism provides a cultural platform for international visitors to see, hear and engage with Indian people in an authentic way that only we can offer. We’re creating greater exposure for foreign travelers to visit Native America, and working to expand our market share in international tourism.”
European travelers have long been fascinated with American Indians, particularly in Germany where there are some 400 clubs devoted to exploring Native American culture. “Tribes are a huge draw at ITB Berlin,” said Staci Eagle Elk, public affairs specialist for AIANTA, which is based in Albuquerque, NM. “There are three busy trade days where tour operators from around the world come to ‘book and buy,’ followed by two public days where thousands of people jam the venue. We hope this exposure creates increased tourism and greater awareness of Indian Nations.”
This marks the third year AIANTA members are taking part in ITB Berlin as a joint effort between AIANTA and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. “Tourism is an avenue to educate the world and our children that our cultures have survived and will thrive into the future,” said Ed Hall in a press release, a Tourism and Transportation Specialist for the BIA who helped found AIANTA.