Black Meetings and Tourism

November/December 2020

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B M & T ••• November/December 2020 ••• 12 A fter recently settling a multi-billion dollar racial discrimination lawsuit against Com-cast, media mega mogul, Byron Allen, co hosted a webinar series on the Importance of Doing Business with Black OWNED Media. Allen was adamant about making a distinc- tion between Black- owned media and Black-targeted media. He further reiterated the widely publicized response he often gives when he is asked "what do Black people want?" As a Black-owned media company repre- senting the voice of African-Americans in the Travel/Tourism, Hospitality and Lodging industry for more than 27 years, Black Meetings & Tourism has been asked that specific question time and time again. Our answer is exactly the same as the one given by Byron Allen. "Black people essentially want the same things that White people and ALL people want; we want equal opportunities and the right to enjoy our share of the "economic inclusion pie" at all levels. In this industry, that translates into African-Americans being in the highest positions, from destination CEOs, hotel owners, general managers and C-suite executives, to Black-owned media receiving an equitable share of dol- lars allocated for marketing, advertising and promotions. It means African-Americans having full involvement in the entrepreneurial and vendor procurement process and participation in educational and leadership training pro- grams. Travel & Tourism, like so many of the other top rev- enue generating and employment opportunity industries in this country, is having to take a long hard look at where we are and where we hope to go. More and more, Travel related businesses are viewing diversity and inclusion as an opportunity, not as an obligation. From that perspec- tive, having knowledge of how we got to where we are clearly offers insight in determining directions for going forward. Many Americans consider the freedom to travel as one of those inalienable rights, perhaps as sacred as life, liber- ty, and the pursuit of happiness. For African-Americans this freedom did not come without many challenges and much determination. Theoretically, travel for Black people in this country began well over 400 years ago when Africans were forcibly brought to North American shores as enslaved "property" to be the essential labor force to build the nation's infrastruc- BY GLORIA & SOLOMON HERBERT Part I BLACK TRAVEL MATTERS CHRONICLING THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN SEGMENT OF THE U.S. TRAVEL INDUSTRY

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