Black Meetings and Tourism

JAN/FEB 2012

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 4 of 64

Publisher's Message Numerous other destinations, encouraged by the confidence exhibited by those already in the game, have begun stepping up to the plate and laying claimto their share of theAfrican-Americanmarket segment. Destinations like East Point, GA, a suburb of Atlanta, and Palm Beach County, FL, are bolstering their profile among Black travelers. Columbia and Myrtle Beach, SC are thankfully moving past the flag issue that has dogged them for so many years to cash in on the growing interest among African-Americans to explore their heritage, particularly in a state like South Carolina, where so many of our ancestors passed through as they were distributed throughout the Americas during that terrible time when slavery ruled. International destinations are playing their part as well. Several Caribbean nations have made it a priority in 2012 to target the African- American market. Among these are Barbados, Martinique, the United States Virgin Islands, St. Maarten, Jamaica and the British Virgin Islands. Toronto and Windsor Essex Pelee Island in Canada have made a strong com- mitment to the market we serve, while Mexico has expressed an interest also. Oddly enough, African tourism officials have been sitting on the sidelines, not actively targeting the African-American market segment, even though some destinations, like Kenya, reported a significant increase in visitation from North American during 2011. Adding fuel to the fire, the Obama administration has established T wo thousand and twelve promises to be a better year for our industry than 2011, if I am to believe all of the feedbackwe receive fromour contacts and clients in destinations across the nation, and for that fact, around the globe. Inbound international traffic is on the upswing,withmany destinations reporting a double-digit increase of visitors, especial- ly from Asia. And with 2012 proclaimed the year of African-American Heritage Tourism,Black consumers are as active as ever, attending meetings and conventions, participating in family reunions,and taking every opportunity to learn more about their history and culture through travel. Many destinations are taking notice, aggressively courting this lucrative seg- ment with targeted marketing efforts. Cities like Orlando, Miami, Birmingham, Philadelphia, and Virginia Beach, just to name a few, have long valued the more than $56 billion African-American meet- ings and leisure travel segment, and for years have set the standard by pumping serious resources and personnel into attracting conventions and vacationers to their respective areas. Brand USA, a public/private partnership charged with boosting interna- tional visitation to the US. Brand USA's Advisory Board is decidedly more diverse than similar efforts of the recent past, and includes Elliott Ferguson, president/CEO of Destination DC, Carol Wallace, president/CEO of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation, and BM&T's own prolific editor Michael Bennett, who is also CEO of Bennett Global Entertainment. Several important events will build upon this momentum, including the 10th anniversary Travel Professionals of Color (TPOC) conference being held this year back where it first originated and is home based – in Denver Colorado. The much-anticipated gathering will unfold at the DoubleTree Denver Hotel, May 17-20. During this same time frame – May 18-22 – the Africa Travel Association (ATA) will hold its 37th Annual World Congress in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Also in May, though specifics had not been con- firmed yet at press time, is the Spring Conference of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners (NCBMP). Later, the 16th Annual International African American Hotel Ownership & Investment Summit & Tradeshow, sponsored by the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers (NABHOOD), will be held July 25-28 at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa in Miami, FL. And finally, there is an effort on the part of Horizons Marketing International, Black Meetings & Tourism and several other industry movers and shakers to present a Multicultural Tourism Conference and Tradeshow in Washington, DC later this year. More on that to come. In the final analysis, those in our industry who enjoy the most success are those who are proactive, take charge and make things happen. Those who sit idly by waiting for things to get better will always find themselves way behind the curve, if in the game at all. Solomon J. Herbert Publisher/Editor-in-Chief E-Mail: Black Meetings & Tourism is published bi-monthly by SunGlo Enterprises, 20840 Chase St., Winnetka, CA 91306-1207 •Telephone: (818)709- 0646/Fax: (818) 709-4753 Copyright 2012 by SunGlo Enterprises. 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. 4 Black Meetings & Tourism January/February 2012:

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Black Meetings and Tourism - JAN/FEB 2012