African-American travel has been increasing for decades and remains on the rise. The world has opened-up and African-Americans are seeking unique experiences that allow us to explore our roots, see new lands, and be a part of the world. When we attend conferences and conventions we are also looking for a tourism experience. We want to see where and how African-Americans live in other Cities. We want to visit museums, eat in Black-owned restaurants and shop in our neighborhood stores. But as the hostile political environment against People of Color heightens, concerns of safety weigh heavily in our choices of where to hold conventions and take vacations.
An African-American convention can contribute as much as $25M to a local economy, yet the travel industry and convention destinations don’t always appear to care. The welcome mat is not necessarily out when Black Meeting Planners come in search of their next convention venue. But now, African-American consumers are flexing our financial muscle and demanding more outreach, marketing, advertising and most of all respect when making our travel decisions.
The travel industry spends very little marketing to African-American’s while aggressively focusing advertising and marketing budgets on predominately White travel clientele. Much like BMW and Mercedes assumed in the ’80s, many in the travel industry have taken the attitude that the African-American travelers will come whether they advertise or not. But they, like the automotive industry in the ’80s, are in for a rude awakening.
The African-American consumer market spends $1.2 Trillion a year on a variety of products. We also spend nearly $60 Billion on travel alone. The travel industry assumes African-Americans want the same experiences as White travelers, and our need and desire to experience African-American culture is seldom addressed.