Tourism on agenda for BIA Tribal Providers Conference

Opportunities for cultural tourism will be on the agenda during the annual Bureau of Indian Affairs Tribal Providers Conference in Anchorage Nov. 27-29.

Camille Ferguson, executive director of the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association, in Albuquerque, NM, with the association’s internet technology and website development coordinator Sandra Anderson, will speak about opportunities in cultural tourism during one of the conference track events. They will also speak about AIANTA’s initiatives in enhancing Indian Country tourism and promoting it around the world.

Initiatives include listings on AIANTA’s website, https://www.aianta.org/nativeamerica_travel/, produced in partnership with the BIA.  AIANTA promotes the website as a leading online resource for domestic and international travelers planning trips to Native destinations. AIANTA offers on-site training on how to be included on the website at no cost.

“We want to educate Alaska Natives on the economic opportunities cultural tourism can present and all of the opportunities that AIANTA has to offer to tribes involved in tourism around the state,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson is a Tlingit woman from the Kiksadi Clan and a member of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska who is a veteran of the tourism industry.

She studied business and village management at Sheldon Jackson College. A former economic development director for the Sitka Tribe, she also served as general manager for Shee Atika Corp.’s Totem Square Inn, Sitka’s Native-owned hotel.

Anderson is a citizen of the Navajo Nation, from the Towering House clan and born into the Towering House clan. She holds bachelor’s degrees in anthropology and Native American studies from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and a masters’ degree in community and regional planning with an emphasis in indigenous planning.

AIANTA is encouraging those attending the BIA conference who are interested in tourism to sign up for limited one-on-one sessions at the conference by contacting Anderson at sanderson@aianta.org.