Recreation Matters: Estimating Millennials’ Preferences for Native American Cultural Tourism

Ryan A. Fitch, Julie M. Mueller, Rebecca Ruiz, Wade Rousse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Millennials (persons born between 1981 and 1996) comprise a substantial and growing proportion of tourism consumers in the US. Rural economies, especially Native American communities, focused on casino revenue are faced with the challenge of sustainable economic growth in a millennial-dominant, post-COVID-19 pandemic economy. We estimate millennials’ willingness to pay for proposed cultural tourism scenarios using a discrete choice experiment on federally recognized tribal land in Arizona, US. We find strong preferences among millennials for guided recreational experiences, including horseback riding, hot spring visits, hiking, and cooking classes. With a changing demographic of potential visitors and a marked need to incorporate indigenous voices for the future of sustainable tourism, our results provide insight for future economic growth opportunities in cultural and natural resource tourism for Native American and rural communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number11513
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Arizona, USA
  • Bayesian estimation
  • cultural recreation
  • discrete choice experiment
  • millennials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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