Black Meetings and Tourism

March / April 2018

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B M & T ••• March/April 2018 ••• 22 One of the most sub- s t a n t i a l forms of travel worldwide focuses on visiting friends and relatives (VFR.) This is noted as a significant rea- son for travel amongst the multicultural tourism popu- lation, who have demon- strated the largest growth, percentagewise, over the past several years. Individuals of color make up 60 percent of the VFR travel numbers and Greater Fort Lauderdale has found it a pleasure welcoming these visitors into their city. The city's uniqueness and diversity gives it a dis- tinct and authentic identity, providing residents and vis- itors with exposure and rich interaction to the African- American, Hispanic and Caribbean cultures. It becomes evident to resi- dents and travelers that cul- tural tourism is an impor- tant part of celebrating, preserving and promoting the city's unique heritage. Cultural tourism also stimu- lates the economy and increases opportunities for artists and creative types, while encouraging public participation in the arts and facilitating cultural com- merce. Collectively these points have made Greater Fort Lauderdale a "must- visit" destination for multi- cultural travelers. Albert Tucker is the vice president of Multicultural Business Development at the Greater Fort Lauder- dale CVB. His primary responsibility is to develop partnerships and alliances with community and busi- ness leaders locally, nationally and internation- ally with the intent to attract a larger number of multicultural conventions, family reunions and meet- ings to Greater Fort Laud- erdale. Throughout his 15- year tenure, Tucker has pushed programs a bit dif- ferently than most CVBs. The GFL Bureau works locally with a variety of organizations, fraternities, sororities, as well as the Urban League. In their interactions, Tucker demo- nstrates specifically how tourism support by the Bureau can financially aid their bottom line. During a potential orga- nization's partnering and planning process, Tucker sits in on their meetings, with the intent of gaining an understanding as to what their goals are (fundraising, an educational element, annual event) so he can ensure that their needs are met and that they can be connected to local sponsors which would help aid in off- setting some of their costs. When the Urban League brought their Annual Con- ference to Greater Fort Lauderdale, they were able to obtain $700,000 in unre- stricted funds toward local programs; news of the event was broadcast on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. Tucker sits on the Advisory Board of the 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale and noted the impact that their Annual Conference had on the community youth, education and eco- nomic development. July of 2018 will be the 42nd Annual Conference of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE). Tucker and the South Florida NOBLE chapter are greatly anticipating this annual training conference, as it is believed that 2,000 atten- dees will take part. "This BY VICTORIA HEAD ALBERT TUCKER: FORT LAUDERDALE WILL MEET AND EXCEED EXPECTATIONS OF MULTICULTURAL CONFERENCE PLANNERS

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