Cherokee Nation was recently named as the 2020 Tribal Destination of the Year by the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association.
Cherokee Nation received the honor for its dedication to sharing the rich history and culture of Cherokee people through its various historic sites and attractions, which includes six cultural museums, two welcome centers and various retail locations.
“American Indian culture has always been the cornerstone for tourism in our state and our region, and we, at Cherokee Nation, have worked hard to help champion those efforts,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “Over the past decade, Cherokee Nation’s preservation efforts have led to an extraordinary collection of attractions that authentically tell the Cherokee story. Through these sites, we’re able to share that story with hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the globe each year, who are eager for the engaging experience that is found when you visit Cherokee Nation.”
The award was presented Wednesday, Sept. 16, at the Enough Good People Industry Awards ceremony hosted during the 22nd annual American Indian Tourism Conference. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, the conference and awards ceremony were held virtually this year.
“We are delighted to recognize Cherokee Nation as the Tribal Destination of the Year,” said Sherry L. Rupert, CEO of AIANTA. “Cherokee Nation has been a great partner to AIANTA and serves as an example to all tribal nations on how to encourage prosperity and growth through the perpetuation of culture.”
Cherokee Nation employee Linda Taylor was also recognized with the Excellence in Customer Service Award. Taylor has been with the tribe for 28 years and currently serves as the senior manager for Cherokee Nation’s retail operations.
“Linda’s passion and enthusiasm for Native American tourism, coupled with her commitment to customer service, has made a tremendous impact on our team throughout the years,” said Travis Owens, director of Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism. “Every interaction we have with guests helps shape their experience, and she always goes above and beyond to ensure that their expectations are exceeded. She has welcomed millions of visitors throughout the years, and we can’t thank her enough for her service and dedication.”
The annual AITC conference is the only national conference in the U.S. dedicated to travel and tourism in and for Indian Country. It connects tribal leaders and tourism enterprises with tourism and hospitality professionals and fosters networking opportunities for attendees.