Hopi Tutuveni Attends 2019 American Indian Tourism Conference as Part of a Tourism Cohort
By: Romalita Laban, Managing Editor
Tulsa, Okla. – September 16-19, 2019 the Hopi Tutuveni was present at the 2019 American Indian Tourism Conference, held at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, in Tulsa, Okla. Romalita Laban, Hopi Tutuveni Managing Editor attended as a member of a newly developed cohort who has been gathered for the possible development of a tourism strategy for Hopi.
In April 2019, the Hopi Tribe received a grant through the U.S. Department of Commerce under the Economic Development Administration (EDA) for developing a tourism strategy amongst other scopes of work. The grant in the amount of $145,241 was awarded on April 1, 2019 and is required to be completed by December 31, 2020.
Work under the grant, which addresses tourism strategy, began with determining an approach towards the development of a tourism cohort. Building Communities, currently serving as a consultant under the grant to the Office of Community Planning and Economic Development – Hopi Tribe, (OCPED) began by scheduling meetings to gather potential cohort members from the local Hopi communities.
A second meeting with potential cohort members was conducted on August 29, 2019 at the Hopi Cultural Center Conference Room. During the meeting, in addition to being provided a summary of the previous meeting discussion, attendees were guided through completing a survey and informed of an all-expense paid opportunity to attend an upcoming national Native tourism conference from September 16-19, 2019, via the grant. Attendees interested in the all-expense paid tourism training opportunity were asked to provide contact information to Building Communities. Approximately, four of the meeting attendees expressed interest.
It is important to note that cohort members, who have been invited to the meetings thus far, have been identified as “key to the team and initiative.” Most potential members of the cohort, who included local Hopi artists, village office tourism professionals, and media staff, had time conflicts and other budgetary difficulties with being able to take up the opportunity to use the grant travel funds. Other challenging factors included having to go through the Tribal financial system and its requirements and schedules.
This is a demonstration of the challenges which cohort members, which includes artists and local Hopi business members, face when attempting to become involved in such initiatives whether they are a function of tribal initiatives or not.
Due to last-minute reasons for not being able to attend, of the four, Tribal staff including the OCPED staff and the Hopi Tutuveni Managing Editor were able to utilize the opportunity presented. If not for having travel funds and/or being able to modify budget line items, with the promise that any funds spent would be reimbursed by Building Communities with the cohort funds, the effort might have had to be delayed or foregone altogether.
Building Communities has management authority of the cohort funds as part of their scope of work to assist the Tribe and the cohort however; they too faced a few delays. Building Communities attempted to provide assistance to make this effort work as conveniently as possible and were involved in coordinating travel and any reimbursement questions directed to them. Because of Building Communities efforts, at least two Hopi Tribal staff, which also represents local Hopi communities, was able to take up the opportunity to attend the 2019 American Indian Tourism Conference.
Some of the topics covered during the 2019 AITC included some of the following; Mobile Workshops at various tourism sites in Oklahoma, The Business of Art, Native Art Market, Exhibition Booths from various Tribal Tourism programs and support resource partners, Building Tribal Arts Programs, How U.S. Travel Works to Elevate the Entire Travel Industry, How Indigenous Tourism is Reshaping Tourism in Canada, Driving Tourism Through Cultural Centers, Shared Stewardship: Re-claim Your Narrative by Co-Managing Public Lands, Empowering Tribal Nations to Build Sustainable Economies: The Role of Federal Policy, The Asterisk Nation: The Importance of Data Collection, Authentically Cultivating Cultural Tourism, Strategic Planning for Cultural Tourism: A Process for Implementing Community and Economic Development, Many Roads Lead to Tribal Tourism, Six-steps to Honing Your Tribal Tourism Skills, Got Press? How to Pitch Media Like a Pro, A Native Approach to Sustainable Tourism, and Many Voices – Telling the Story of the USA Through Film.
Future plans include continued cohort meetings with information being shared about the training acquired at the 2019 AITC to the cohort members. Because media is vital and an important resource for any tourism endeavors, the Hopi Tutuveni will continue to be present at the cohort meetings. The Hopi Tutuveni will serve as a partner, resource and support for the Hopi Tribe’s efforts towards any tourism development and strategies for increased revenue opportunities.
The Hopi Tribe will, no doubt, need to start strategizing how to approach other economic ventures, such as tourism, since its biggest revenue source has sent out the last payment this September 2019.
It will be imperative that tour guides, artists and local community members become involved by providing input and ensuring their voices are heard, with regard to any possible future tourism plans, should that be the direction the Hopi Tribe and/or local community group’s determine their endeavor.
Romalita Laban, Managing Editor
Carl Onsae, Assistant Editor
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