Black Meetings and Tourism

September / October 2022

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B M & T ••• September/October 2022 ••• 4 As Black Meetings & Tourism( approaches our 30th year of publishing., we acknowledge many changes have taken place in the industry during these years, some of it to be applauded, some of it questionable. We have watched the number of African- Americans who head convention & visitor bureaus in the nation go from zero to eleven. Likewise, we remember when there was just one Black-owned hotel (in Memphis), while today, there are over 755, and only one Black hotel general manager (John Dixon at Marriott in DC), an elite club that has now grown to over 150. And though this is just a drop in the bucket when you consider there are about 700 CVBs and perhaps 60,000 hotels across the nation, it is progress nonetheless. It is all the more remarkable that those who have managed to achieve such heights and realize such success accomplished all this in a hospitality industry that history has shown us it is not particularly hospitable to people of color. The good news is that we have wit- nessed the emergence of the African- American segment as an important play- er in the marketplace. Fortunately, some PUBLISHER'S MESSAGE Black Meetings & Tourism is published bi-monthly by Black Meetings & Tourism LCC, 20840 Chase St., Winnetka, CA 91306-1207 •Telephone: (818)709-0646/Fax: (818) 709-4753 Copyright 2022 by Black Meetings & Tourism LCC. All rights reserved. Single Copies, $6.00 Subscriptions $45.00. Postage Paid at Pasadena, CA. •Postmaster send address changes to Black Meetings & Tourism, 20840 Chase St., Winnetka, CA 91306-1207. Solomon J. Herbert Publisher/Editor-In-Chief E-Mail: destinations and a few states have taken the time to do the research and educate themselves about the value of this bur- geoning niche and work their way past the stereotypical images of most Black folk being without the resources to par- ticipate in travel related activities. Consequently, they are the select few reaping the lion's share of the more than $129 bil- lion generated by this segment annually. The bad news is that far too few leaders within our industry have yet to learn the lesson that the McDonald's and Proctor & Gambles of the world learned long ago – that the African- American market is an untapped goldmine with lots of discre- tionary money which it is not bashful about spending. I have no doubt that this mindset is the direct result of the lack of diversity at senior management levels and in the boardrooms at CVBs, state departments of tourism, cruise lines and lodg- ing industry giants that cripples our industry and prevents it from reaching its full potential. So as we move closer to our next decade of business, we are rededicating ourselves to continue acting as a catalyst for change, showcasing those destinations, individuals and com- panies that get it right and fully embrace diversity and inclusion as part of their corporate culture at all levels. We will also con- tinue our support of those organizations that are committed to helping level the playing field for African-American meeting planners, travel agents and other industry professionals. The National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals, Travel Professionals of Color, and the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers, and the International Multicultural & Heritage Tourism Network are the four premier industry organizations which are dedicated to pro- viding educational and professional development opportuni- ties for our community. They have my unwavering support, and they should have yours too! And finally, let me take this opportunity to congratulate Chantel Francois, executive director of the South Fulton Convention and Visitors Bureau, who is profiled on the cover of this issue. In spite of the many roadblocks and challenges she's had to face as a woman of color in our industry, she's overcome them all and deserves your support, respect and applause. Way to go Chentel!

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