Black Meetings and Tourism

Sept/Oct 2012

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ICI •pg_14-18__BMT_pg3-58 12/21/12 3:02 AM Page 16 NABHOOD NEWS BY MICHAEL BENNETT according to Andy Ingraham, president and CEO of NABHOOD. Charles actually met his first partner at a NABHOOD event a few years back. Another highlight of attending NABHOOD is access to world leaders, and that was especially true this year. Attendees were treated to remarks by the Right Honorable Perry G. Christie, prime minister and minister of Finance for the Commonwealth of the ANDY INGRAHAM Bahamas. The Prime Minister's passion for his country was infections as he implored the crowd to consider investing in the Bahamas. He spoke of the "enormous opportunities" for partnership with the Bahamas and taking advantage of the growing minority travel markets worldwide. Christie has made such a commitment to the hotel and partnership investment within his country that he has moved many of the HONORABLE PERRY G. CHRISTIE functions directly under the Prime Minister's office and appointed a Minister of State for Investments. NABHOOD also hosted President Alain Richardson, of St. Martin (French) and the Honorable William V. Marlin, deputy prime minister, minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure on St. Maarten (Dutch). Both leaders shared vital information about their respective countries and urged NABHOOD members to consider investing. Marline pointed out that none of the major brands have a presence in St. Maarten, despite having a great tourism product. The NABHOOD awards ceremony highPRESIDENT ALAIN RICHARDSON lighted the outstanding achievements of industry partners. Recipient of this year's NABHOOD Supplier of the Year is HD Supply. We highlighted HD Supply in a previous edition of this column earlier this year. The NABHOOD Hotel Company of the Year award went to Starwood Hotels and Resorts. The NABHOOD Chairman's Award went to Commissioner Albert Turner, from Perry County, Marion, AL. Perry was instrumental in the public/private partnership that led to a $3 million Sleep Inn and Suites property – the first of its kind in his county. Perry recognizes that "businesses will not come to rural America out of the goodness of their hearts." The AAHOA (Asian American Hotel Owners Association) National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers (NABHOOD) held their 16th annual International African-American Hotel Ownership and Investment Summit and Trade Show at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa in Miami. The theme of this year's event – "A Decade of Progress." And what a decade it's been. The first official board meeting was held at an AfricanAmerican owned Sleep Inn in Peachtree City, GA over a decade ago. NABHOOD was officially incorporated in August 2001. At the time you could count the number of Black-owned hotels on one hand. Once the association formed, African-American hotels started to sprout up around the country. By 2006, there were over 200 Black-owned hotels. Today, there are over 500 and counting. All of this success has come despite 9/11 and the global recession that started in 2008. But the mission is not over. We expect great things from NABHOOD in the coming years as more and more investors learn of the opportunities that exist in the hotel investment arena, especially now as banks are looking to rid their balance sheets of properties making the time right for acquisitions and repositioning. Lending standards have loosened somewhat, but they are still tight compared to pre-recession levels – loan-to-value ratios are still in excess of 40 percent and not all markets have recovered at the same level as was pointed during a panel discussion luncheon hosted by Hilton International. It should also be pointed out that the new builds market continues to suffer, due in large measure to the glut of available properties being held by banks and available capital to finance new builds. The NABHOOD summit featured a variety of workshops and industry-wide panel discussions on the state of the industry and future prospects. There were classes on the ABC's of Hotel Ownership, Public/Private Partnership Financing and Incentives, Feasibility and Marketing Studies, Small Business Development Loans for Hotels and so much more. NABHOOD is the single best marketing opportunity for AfricanAmericans interested in exploring hotel ownership opportunities. Not only do you have access to potential investment partners, but also all of the major brands have a presence at NABHOOD, and many serve on the NABHOOD board. The One of the rising stars in African-American hotel ownership, Evens Charles, CEO and president of Frontier Realty Development and Hospitality Group is the youngest Black hotel owner in the industry 16 BM&T ••• September/October 2012 •••

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