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Indian Tourism Country USA – Conference&Trade Show

International participants from as far away as New Zealand and as close as Canada are joining Native Americans…

International participants from as far away as New Zealand and as close as Canada are joining Native Americans, government officials, cultural tourism specialists, educators and a host of tourism industry representatives to the Renaissance Hotel on September 26-28, 2002 for a forum that studies the booming Indian Country tourism trade. The theme of People, Culture, Heritage and Place addresses the positive attractions of native tourism that appeal to diverse international audiences.

The Native Tourism Alliance, an initiative of the Western American Indian Chamber, is the host for this meeting that expects to attract participants in the fields of cultural/heritage tourism, eco-tourism and sustainable development. Ben Sherman, President, notes, The ultimate goal of this gathering is to assess how indigenous people can develop sustainable tourism enterprises in ways that improve community economic opportunity, support the preservation of indigenous cultures and protect precious lands and natural resources. This conference will explore avenues for native people to work with domestic and international partners who share common values regarding community, culture and lands.

The three-day conference features such notable speakers as Curly Bear Wagner, internationally-known Blackfeet historian, lecturer and cultural tourism expert, Lorentino Lalio, New Mexico`s Indian tourism director, Marsha Smoke, owner of Canada`s Pash Travel, Margaret Nelson, president of the Alaska Native Heritage Center and John Paul Jones, renowned Choctaw architect with Seattle-based Jones & Jones Architects.

The conference is packed with topics of wide interest, including tourism programs for gaming tribes, Lewis & Clark bicentennial opportunities, building sustainable community enterprises, partnering for success, marketing native tourism, education in native tourism development, and integrating art, culture, heritage and place. All sessions will promote active participation among speakers, panelists and audiences.

The banquet will feature special entertainment and the presentation of NTA Trust Awards to four deserving native tourism enterprises. A social pow wow will be held.

Business Enterprises for Sustainable Travel (BEST) and the American Express Company are major sponsors of the event. BEST is an initiative of The Conference Board, in association with the World Travel & Tourism Council. BEST and American Express provided funding support for the new on-line website directory, www.nativetourism.org, developed by the Western American Indian Chamber and Native Tourism Alliance.

The Native Tourism Alliance, headquartered in Denver, Colorado has played a central role in supporting American Indian tourism interests in the United States for several years. This initiative of the Western American Indian Chamber was created to serve American Indian business and economic development through tourism, while supporting the preservation and integrity of indigenous cultures, communities and lands. The Native Tourism Alliance is headed by an all-Indian board of directors.

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