Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tourism industry turns upmarket in Indian Country

Read Bonnie Tsui's story in today's New York Times travel section. Here's an excerpt:

The stereotypes of glitzy casinos and a kitschy cowboys-and-Indians past have long dominated popular notions about visiting Native American lands. Even where the more genuine attractions are obvious, as at the majestic Monument Valley straddling Arizona and Utah, it has often been difficult for outsiders to find an accessible and comfortable way into the nuanced realities of Indian country: its venerable history and distinct cultures; its remote, rugged natural beauty.

* * *
A new generation of Indian entrepreneurs and leaders is making its influence felt in tourism, bringing a sensitive, updated sensibility to hospitality, along with a renewed emphasis on authenticity. In some of the most gorgeous, intriguing and remote places of Native American territory, the focus is shifting toward a more modern and higher-end travel experience.
I passed through Monument Valley last fall but didn't spend the night there. I did, however, write this post from nearby Bluff, Utah. I can attest that one thing not being upgraded on the Monument Valley site is the roads, which have potholes big enough to swallow small cars.

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