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AIANTA celebrates eight years as Indian country tourism leader

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Annual Conference to be Held at Eastern Band of Cherokee Sept.16-19

WASHINGTON - ''Building Capacity for Indian Country Tourism Success'' is the theme of this year's American Indian Tourism Conference, Sept. 16 - 19 in Cherokee, N.C., sponsored by the American Indian/Alaska Native Tourism Association.

Tribes from all regions throughout the United States created AIANTA to form a leadership network and offer learning opportunities for tribes who are interested or engaged in managing tourism on Indian lands. AIANTA has been holding educational conferences since 1999.

In addition to educational sessions with national and internationally-recognized speakers, the 2007 AITC conference will offer ''familiarization tours'' and an opening reception of traditional Cherokee food and entertainment. The New Zealand Maori tribe has also been invited to share their experience in pursuit of international tourists along with a sample of Maori food and culture.

AIANTA's annual education and outreach conference features sessions for all tribes, from those just beginning tourism operations to those with sophisticated tourism departments. Getting Started in Tourism, How to Establish a Tourism Department, International Tourism Marketing at Pow Wow and ITB-Berlin, Creating Eco-Friendly Golf Courses, Creating Scenic Byways and Becoming a Travel Marketing Professional are among the workshops that will be offered this year.

AIANTA partner organizations, including the National Indian Gaming Association, the Southeastern Tourism Society, National Congress of American Indians, BIA, Tourism Industries of America Inc., the Small Business Administration, and many other organizations and government agencies participate in the conference, along with speakers and representatives from many tourism tribes and tribal vendors throughout the country.

AIANTA strives to give its members opportunities for connection, growth and achievement in tourism and invites all tribes in the United States and Canada to participate in the Cherokee conference. For information and registration, visit www.aianta.org.