Indigenous communities engaging in tourism development in Arizona, USA

Aina Pubill Ambros, Christine N. Buzinde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Informed by an asset-based community development framework, the purpose of this exploratory study is to understand the approaches/goals and challenges related to tourism development in Indigenous communities located in Arizona. Tourism representatives from eight Indigenous communities were interviewed. A key emergent theme was the creation of awareness for endogenous and exogenous audiences, which was accomplished by educating hosts and tourists. Provision of knowledge for the former encompassed accounting for revenue generation opportunities as well as the prioritization of the community’s values/needs. Didactic efforts geared towards tourists entailed dismantling stereotypes of Indigenous Peoples, promulgated by dominant society while simultaneously orienting guests to the richness and distinctness of Native communities. Participants mentioned challenges that limit tourism growth such as lack of needed infrastructure, and absence of product ideation, as well as lack of a skilled or willing local labor force. Mitigation efforts, according to participants, have to align with Indigenous cosmologies so as to maintain support from the community and to foster Indigenously informed sustainable approaches to tourism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Heritage Tourism
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Arizona
  • awareness creation
  • Indigenous Peoples
  • limits to growth
  • tourism development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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