Black Meetings and Tourism

March / April 2023

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Page 12 of 60

B M & T ••• March/April 2023 ••• 12 At a time when the industry is still rebuilding from the pan- demic's crushing impact on consumer demand, no destination or trav- el-related business can afford to overlook the revenue opportunities that the ethnic travel marker represents. "If you want to maintain your relevancy and sustain your growth, it just makes sense to expand or broaden your con- sumer base," says Jason Dunn, Executive Director of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals (NCBMP). Recent studies value the African- American meetings and leisure travel market at more than $129 billion, and Dunn notes that when you add in the growing Asian-American and Hispanic markets, the economic case for capturing the ethnic travel market becomes even stronger."Those three groups alone make up one of the largest GDP seg- ments in the consumer base," he says. Travel industry leaders not only benefit financially by targeting the ethnic market, they also boost their destinations' brand as places where cultural diversity is highly valued and everyone is invited. "The meetings and tourism industry must pay close attention to ethnic markets to ensure that all are equally represented and welcomed," says Julie Coker, President/CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority. Yet some research suggests these travelers aren't necessarily feeling the same amount of love everywhere they go. In November 2020, MMGY Global Travel Intelligence released the first phase of a research study, called The Black Traveler: Insights, Opportunities & Priorities, conducted on behalf of African- American traveler advocacy organizations to help them assess the needs, behaviors and sentiments of Black travelers. The report was based in part on an analysis of a survey of 200 NCBMP members. Among the respondents, 84 percent said they viewed some destinations as more A R E YO U BEHI ND THE CURVE IN YOU R EFFOR TS T O TAR G ET THE ETHNIC MARK ET?

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