Black Meetings and Tourism

July / August 2021

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3 CONTENTS 31 31 12 12 18 18 14 14 VOLUME 28, ISSUE 7, JULY/AUGUST 2021 4 Publisher's Message 5 Calendar of Events 6 In The News 8 Hotel Happenings 10 Newsmakers 15 TPOC News Briefs 38 Travel Data 39 Caribbean Corner 41 The From Motherland 42 Cruise News 43 Barbados 44 Hawaii 46 Michigan 48 Maryland 51 New York B M & T ••• July/August 2021 ••• BL ACK MEETING & TOURISM COVER STORY FEATURES DEPARTMENT AREA GUIDES One of Rickey Thigpen's first orders of business when he became president and CEO of Visit Jackson in February of 2019 was to put together a coalition of community leaders to boost the city as a travel destination. Read about this and much more in A Conversation With Rickey Thigpen. By Sonya Stinson In the wake of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying travel bans, the travel and tourism market has taken it on the chin. However, better days are on the horizon as aggressive vaccinations in the U.S. are increasing consumer confidence in traveling and attending in-person meetings and conferences. Cutting Meeting Costs Without Cutting Corners is a short primer on how to provide your clients with the most ROI for the events you plan. By Patrice A. Kelly Milwaukee is a city that cherishes its roots while looking toward a vibrant future. The city has been and always will be powered by the people who call Milwaukee home. Embark on a journey spotlighting the diverse groups that make up the cultures of MKE. A Milwaukee Cultural Tour shares this experience with you. KKD Tourism Advisors Partners With Black Meetings & Tourism to Provide Marketing Services reports on this new relationship that promises to Propel BM&T to new heights. 20 20 36 36 "Once you go Black, you never go back!" Black hotel owner and commercial real estate investor Davonne Reaves hopes the popular cheeky catchphrase rings true for those who stay at one of thousands of Black-owned hotels and bed & breakfasts across America this summer. She explains it all in Got Summer 2021 Travel Plans? This Young Black Woman Hotel Entrepreneur Wants You to Have a #Stayblackexperience. 33 33 Second Tier: Top Choice educates meeting planners who are under the misconception that second tier means second rate. Nothing could be further from the truth. Among the most popular and attractive destinations are Industries worldwide have been tasked with intro- ducing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives as a means to create a more balanced and welcoming environment for everyone, but especially marginalized segments of the workforce. Two of those industries are tourism and hospitality, long criticized for their monumental lack of Black leadership and slow com- mitment to hiring more diverse managers and execu- tives. Why Haven't Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Led to More Black Leadership? sheds some light on this timely issue. By Darlene Donloe 22 22 photo credit: Jackson, Mississppis CVB Caesars Entertainment Welcomed Meeting Professionals International World Education Conference (WEC 2021) At Caesars Forum Conference Center reports on the annual event held this year June 15-17. many that are considered second tier. And yet they offer world-class accommodations, cutting edge meeting facilities and top-of-the-line services, not to mention great attractions, fascinating history and cul- ture, and superb dining – all those things that make any travel experience memorable. BM&T has offered 10 possibilities here for your consideration. Rufus McKinney Mississippi River boat

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