Black Meetings and Tourism

September / October 2021

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Page 13 of 44

B M & T ••• September/October 2021 ••• 13 A C O N V E R S A T I O N W I T H K E N T U R C K Y S T A T E L E G I S L A T O R , P A M E L A S T E V E S O N Q: Recent research has indicated that the African-American market spends $129. 6 billion annually on domestic and international travel and approximately another $9-10 billon on meetings and convention travel. Does Kentucky have any special initiatives or programs that specifically reach out and promote to this market segment? A: Kentucky has promotions to attract the African-American travel market r and there is more that we can do. Currently, the state has committed $5 million to help boost the state's tourism industry by encouraging safe travel to all 120 Kentucky counties. In addition, a grant was awarded to fund projects as a part of an ongoing effort by state tourism officials to attract new, diverse travel markets. Three projects in Kentucky are receiving $150,000 in fed- eral funding to help preserve African American history. The funding will help projects at Cherokee State Park in Hardin, the Hotel Metropolitan in Paducah and the Palmer Pharmacy Building in Lexington. We also have to integrate black Kentucky history into Kentucky history. We have started with Roots 101 an African American history museum, founded by Lamont Collins. But there is more history to uncover and develop into tourist attractions, so that tourists and residents can experience all of Kentucky' s history and what it was like to be Black in Kentucky. Q: African-American travelers are drawn to destinations where they are made to feel welcome and their busi- ness valued. In view of national reports about the unfortunate killing of Breonna Taylor, in Louisville, what are some of the steps the state of Kentucky has taken, or will take to help address this issue and any concerns it may have spawned regarding your ability to welcome visitors ? A: While Louisville is still impacted from the death of Ms. Taylor, the city is safe. We are still seeking justice for her and working for a Kentucky that works for all people, while welcoming visitors, Ms. Taylor is now firmly a part of Kentucky's history and her story is housed in the Roots 101 Museum. Visit this awarding winning museum and discover Ms. Taylor and the movement that honors her life.

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