Black Meetings and Tourism

May / June 2017

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B M & T ••• May/June 2017 ••• 4 The time is upon us for the 2017 Apex Awards presented by Black Meetings & Tourism. The awards cere- mony, which will be held in Miami on Saturday, July 29th at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay Hotel, takes place during the 4th Annual International Multicultural & Heritage Tourism Summit & Trade Show. The Apex Awards are presented as a tribute and celebration of individu- als and organizations that have made significant contributions to the develop- ment of Multicultural & Heritage Tourism. Additionally, the awards also recognize those who have championed diversity and inclusion in the travel/tourism/meet- ings/hospitality industry. This year's recipients include Bennish Brown, president/CEO of Travel Tacoma, Calvin Ramsey, a historian and film maker who's producing a documentary on the Historic Green Book, Commiss- ioner Audrey M. Edmonson, Miami-Dade County Commission, District 3, Karin Aaron, president/CEO of the Newark Convention & Visitor's Bureau, Ken Lawton, president/CEO of Visit Florida, and Kevin Johnson, president of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners (NCBMP), among others. We at Black Meetings & Tourism believe it is essential that we come together on an ongoing basis to support PUBLISHER'S MESSAGE one another during this unsettling polarized climate of discord and dissention. If we do not recognize the good work and good will of our colleagues who dili- gently strive to make certain African-Americans and other people of color can compete on a level playing field and have the same access to resources, careers and entrepreneurial opportunities as everyone else, then who will? Industry icon, the late Howard Mills, encouraged me many years ago to create a trade pub- lication so that African-Americans could tell our own story and not rely on others to do it for us. Mills is the co-founder of the NCBMP and former meeting planner for the National Urban league. At his urging, we creat- ed The Black Convention magazine in 1990, followed by Black Meetings & Tourism in 1993. It has been our pleasure and honor to report to a wider industry audi- ence about the accomplishments of, and issues facing our nearly $60 billion market segment. The Apex Awards is just one of a series of events BM&T will be presenting this year and in years to come that addresses the concept of economic empowerment and wealth building in the African-American community. On September 20, 2017, we will host the 2017 BM&T Champions Awards program at the Marriott Marquis in Washington DC. We are looking forward to honoring Elected Government Officials for their work in travel & tourism. Elected officials being honored at the awards program include President Barack Obama, Senator Cory Booker, Judge Denise Langford Morris, Mayor Johnny Ford, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and Ohio State Representative Alicia Reece, among others. We will also use this occasion to launch the BM&T youth mentoring program in an effort to endow an entire generation with the gift of meetings, travel & tourism as a career choice. We will kick off the mentor- ing program by hosting a male and female delegate from each state during the BM&T Champions Awards event. In addition to meeting their mentors for the first time, these mentees will be indulged in a luxury travel experience designed to give them a glimpse into the industry. We are launching the New Green Book African- American Travel Guide later this year, which is not only about travel, but also focuses on economic empower- ment and wealth building. And we have at least two or three other events in the works for 2017, one of which is tentatively scheduled to take place in San Francisco in November, and two others that may also unfold in Washington DC in concert with the Champions Awards. Stay tuned for more information. 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 2017 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. Solomon J. Herbert E-Mail:

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