Arizona American Indian Tourism Association tourism priorities announced

(submitted photo)

On April 17, the Arizona American Indian Tourism Association announced their newly elected executive board and tribal tourism priorities which will be the main focus of their 2017-18 fiscal year activities.

The new board officers are as follows: Blessing McAnlis-Vasquez (Pima) named board president; Donovan Hanley (Navajo) named vice president; Steve Geiogamah (Kiowa) named treasurer; Amanda June (Navajo-Hopi) named secretary.

Recounting past successes of inter-tribal collaboration through the AAITA during the 2015 Super Bowl events, and considering new opportunities and developments in cultural and eco-tourism are what fuel the new leadership’s motivation and agenda for the organization, according to a press release.

Arizona American Indian Tourism Association Board President Blessing McAnlis-Vasquez. (submitted photo)

“The mission of the AAITA is to promote the development of American Indian tourism in Arizona while respecting the cultural integrity of the tribes,” Board President McAnlis-Vasquez, said in the press release.

“We have a beautiful and impactful story to share and do so very eloquently when we work together to create events like the 2015 Arizona American Indian Festival. We continue to grow as an organization, learning from one another and from leaders in the industry, and I am honored to be a part of AAITA’s next chapter.”

While outreach and collaboration remain top-of-mind for the board, long-time advocate and Arizona Office of Tourism Tribal Tourism Relations Manager, Dawn Melvin, points out; the key purpose of tribal tourism has always been about creating economic development opportunity and support to tribes.

“As the only state-wide American Indian tourism association in Arizona with a 501(c)3 designation, AAITA can play an important role in educating the public about cultural tourism,” Ms. Melvin said in the press release.

“This all-volunteer board is a mixture of recent and longtime members who have and continue to work tirelessly to promote tourism to Indian County in a respectful and authentic approach that helps generate economic development that is so needed on tribal lands. I congratulate the new board and wish them continued success with their projects.”

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