- By Tribal Business News Staff
The sky is no longer the limit for a growing Native-owned tourism business in northern Arizona.
Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours, based in Page, Ariz., said last week that it established a new business unit that will allow it to offer helicopter and fixed-wing airplane tours and other air services throughout the region. The family-owned company, which has offered guided tours of nearby canyons for more than a decade, says its new IKG Air LLC division is the first 100% Navajo-owned aviation company serving the region.
The new aircraft division will help the company add new tour routes farther from its home base and increase revenues, according to Lionel Bigthumb, chief operations officer of IKG Air.
“The creation of our new tour routes and aircraft division is an important step for our company as we expand into a new era,” Bigthumb said in a statement. “As a tribal-owned business, we are ready to step onto the global stage to showcase ourselves as a unique, and culturally responsible tour operator, offering air services and tour packages to the most gorgeous and iconic destinations in the world.”
Since 2009, Adventurous Antelope has operated in northern Arizona near the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell, offering tours of upper Antelope Canyon, Owl Canyon, and Rattlesnake Canyon on land owned by the Navajo Nation. The canyons are popular among photographers and known worldwide for the wave-like washbasin walls of rich orange Navajo sandstone.
Last winter, Adventurous escorted photographers from the National Football League into Rattlesnake Canyon for a photo shoot, capturing images of the landscape to use in marketing materials for Super Bowl LVII, held in Glendale, Ariz. on Feb. 12.
Starting this spring IKG Air will take tourists to Sedona. Ariz. and the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Bolstered by its new tour offerings, the company hopes to further tap into the $14 billion Native tourism industry while creating opportunities for visitors to learn about Arizona’s 22 federally recognized tribes and bring tourism dollars to those tribal communities.
“We have an opportunity to tell our authentic stories respectfully, as we take on an incredible responsibility to serve as cultural caretakers and ambassadors of our tribal communities,” Adventurous Marketing Director Jeremy Arviso said. “As a Navajo-owned tour operator, we bring our cultural knowledge to visitors who may not know our story, and can learn more about us, which in turn can lead to greater understanding of our people.”
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