April 10, 2011

Native tourism in Alaska

Alaska Natives Capitalizing on Tourism OpportunitiesCamile Ferguson of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska told the Bay Times, “Heritage and cultural tourism is one of our state’s fastest-growing and best economic assets for the future,” said Ferguson, the Alaska representative on the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association Board. “We are going to help Alaskans learn how to build or expand their businesses using the unique experiences that Alaska offers our visitors.”

Travelers heading to Alaska are going out of their way to find off-road villages that lack the cushier accommodations that were once thought of as necessary to all but the most extreme, hard core travelers. As more and more people seek out Native cultures to immerse themselves in, messages are being sent to both the tourism industry and the Native kids in these villages who are being reminded that their culture and traditions are valuable and important. A recent conference overseas, the ITB Berlin, reinforced the widespread interest in indigenous American cultures. Germans in particular are fascinated by what Ferguson calls “the real American Indian.”

1 comment:

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see:


Alaska Native groups get creative to gain tourists

Alaska Natives have established a solid foundation in the state's tourism industry, captivating visitors with their dances and songs, their art and a history as varied as the tribes themselves.

Much of the cultural boom is found at cruise ship ports, Alaska's large cities and points along the state's minimal road system. But travel experts say independent travelers are increasingly venturing to isolated villages to experience life with descendants of the continent's first inhabitants on their ancient grounds, a trend that could be confirmed by a summer visitor survey planned by the Alaska Travel Industry Association.

Whatever the venue, Alaska Natives represent an "authentic experience" for many travelers, said association president Ron Peck.

"Yes, they come to see the beauty that is Alaska," he said. "But the truth of the matter is, as they come here, they want to be more experiential. They want to learn about these cultures."