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AIANTA selects AOT Staffer for Excellence in Customer Service Award

October 12, 2012

Dawn Melvin, the Arizona Office of Tourism’s (AOT) Tribal Tourism Relations Manager, has been recognized as the recipient of the Excellence in Customer Service award by the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA).

AIANTA is a nonprofit association of American Indian tribes and tribal businesses organized in 1999 to advance Indian Country tourism. As the national organization representing the tribal hospitality and tourism industry, AIANTA recently recognized the best throughout Indian Country during its first ever awards ceremony held during its 14th Annual American Indian Tourism Conference in Billings, Montana, September 23 -26, 2012.

Ms. Melvin who is Navajo and Hopi has worked as the Tribal Tourism Relations Manager for AOT and the designated Tribal Tourism Liaison for the Governor’s Office for the past eight years. She was recognized for her efforts in providing consistent and excellent customer service in her role as it is pivotal to the success of AOT’s collaborative efforts with Arizona’s 22 federally recognized Tribes.

“Dawn Melvin is routinely called out by co-workers, Tribal members and community representatives for going above and beyond her duties to advance projects she knows will enhance Arizona’s Tribal tourism industry,” said Sherry Henry, AOT director. “Many people across the state benefit from her industry knowledge, and she is always willing to share personal stories to teach others about the Tribal cultures that define her.”

As examples, Ms. Melvin has collaborated with statewide Tribal leaders to place Visitor Information Kiosks for travelers visiting Tribal Lands; to open the state’s first Local Visitor Information Center on Tribal Lands; and continues to work with global media representatives to introduce Arizona’s Tribal experiences to travelers.  Ms. Melvin has also worked to update the American Indian website section of AOT’s consumer website, And upcoming projects for Ms. Melvin include the Visitors to Native Lands Survey, which will help AOT and Tribal Leaders determine what types of visitors are traveling to Arizona’s tribal lands; where they are going when they are here; how much money they are spending when they are in Indian Country and how marketing efforts should be adjusted to attract more of these types of visitors.

In addition to Ms. Melvin’s honors, an honorable mention was made to the Arizona Indian Village, produced by the Arizona American Indian Tourism Association (AAITA) for Best Cultural Experience. The Arizona Indian Village is a celebration of the heritage and diversity of Arizona’s 22 federally recognized American Indian Tribes. The living museum provides an authentic Arizona American Indian cultural experience and inspires attendees to discover what Arizona’s Tribes have to offer as travel and tourism destinations.

The Village is one of AAITA’s largest collaborative efforts, because it is such a valuable opportunity for each Tribe to showcase their unique cultures and traditions to local, statewide, national and international visitors. Visitors experience the sights, sounds and flavors of Native dance, music and foods.  Visitors can also purchase high-quality, authentic American Indian arts and crafts by Arizona tribal artisans.

The Village is included in many statewide festivals and celebrations, such as:  Super Bowl XXX; Super Bowl XLII; and the Arizona Centennial Best Fests in Prescott and Phoenix. AAITA plans to construct the Village in many upcoming Arizona events, including Super Bowl XLIX in 2015.

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