Camille Fergusson, the executive director of the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) has been elected to the U.S. Travel Association’s Board of Directors as an At-Large Director, the association announced on Thursday.
Ferguson, a citizen of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska and a member of the Kiksadi Clan, has been executive director of the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) for six years. Only the second-ever Native American to serve on the U.S. Travel board, her three-year period will run through 2021. During her term, she plans to augment her work with elected officials in advocating for the importance of including tribal tourism in the national tourism message.
“Tourism to Native American communities supports economic and social stability, especially in remote and rural communities, which in turn contributes to the overall health of the U.S. economy,” said Ferguson, who introduced AIANTA’s “Our Voices, Our Stories” campaign, which emphasizes the importance of tribal entities taking control of their own tourism messaging to provide greater authenticity and sustainability in a rapidly growing inventory of cultural tourism offerings. Under her leadership, AIANTA received national recognition when it was presented the President’s “E” Award for Exports of tribal tourism.
Joining Ferguson as a first-time, at-large director is Deb Hickok, president and CEO of Explore Fairbanks. A destination marketing and management professional for nearly 37 years, Hickok became CEO of Explore Fairbanks in 1999. Under her guidance, Explore Fairbanks has received numerous awards, including the Governor of Alaska’s Exporter of the Year Award and the Destiny Award from the U.S. Travel Destinations Council. She currently serves on two other boards of directors, the Alaska Travel Industry Association (ATIA) which she chaired in 2011 and the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce.
Ferguson also joins another Ferguson, Elliot L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO of Destination DC, who was elected as the new national chairman of the board.
“I look forward to working with Elliott,” said AIANTA’s executive director. “He has a deservedly well-respected reputation for driving awareness of the cultural offerings of a city more commonly known for its political inner-workings. I believe his leadership will further help drive attention to the importance of including Native American, Native Alaskan and Native Hawaiian stories and issues in the national tourism agenda.”
On Thursday, the U.S. Travel membership also installed other officer positions: first vice chair Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line; second vice chair Michael Dominguez, senior vice president and chief sales officer of MGM Resorts International; treasurer Joseph W. Lopano, chief executive officer of Tampa International Airport; and decretary Casandra Matej, president and CEO of Visit San Antonio.
Joining Ferguson and Hickok as first-term, at-large directors are: Margot Amelia, senior vice president, chief marketing officer, National Aquarium in Baltimore; Candace Carr Strauss, CEO, Visit Big Sky/Big Sky Chamber of Commerce; Chris Fogg, CEO, Maine Tourism Association; Abigail James, group vice president, Marketing Strategy, Macy’s, Inc.; Cristy Morrison, president & CEO, Visit Stillwater; John Percy, president & CEO, Destination Niagara USA; Richard Peterson, president & CEO, U.S. Cultural & Heritage Tourism Marketing Council; Milton Segarra, executive director, Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast; Douglas Small, president & CEO, Experience Grand Rapids; Monica Smith, president & CEO, Southeast Tourism Society; and Paula Vlamings, chief impact officer, Tourism Cares
Returning to the board are: Kate Birchler, assistant vice president, tourism narketing, Macerich Shopping Centers; Liz Bittner, president & CEO, Travel South USA; Gerrit De Vos, vice president, business development, AmericanTours International; and Gary Schluter, founder, Rocky Mountain Holiday Tours