As we strive for a more inclusive travel industry, it has never been more important to put our actions behind our words and support travelers of color. Not just during Black History Month, but year-round. Black travelers are a force to be reckoned with in the travel space and yet are too often undervalued by major companies and publications.
According to MMGY Global’s 2019 Shifflet Travel Performance/Monitor study, Black travelers spent $109.4 billion dollars in 2019, making up an estimated 13.1 percent of the leisure travel market in the United States. Despite having a clear impact on the travel industry, too often the Black community is underrepresented and marginalized in the travel space.
With the travel industry largely halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the future of travel may very well be defined by Black travelers. As a recent survey from Airbnb revealed, it is the Black community that is setting the travel trends of tomorrow. In honor of Black History Month, here are ways you can be an ally to the Black travel community — and continue to support Black travelers well beyond February.
Subscribe to The Black Explorer Magazine
The Black Explorer is a stunning new magazine that celebrates the Black travel narrative. With a mission to champion diversity in travel media, The Black Explorer combines essays, photography, memoirs, and illustration from a diverse set of contributors.
Attend These Upcoming Virtual Events
Following the horrific murder of George Flyod, the United States erupted into long overdue discussions about racism, inequality, white privilege, and unconscious biases. These conversations were long overdue and remain crucial to the education and advancement of our society. This month, the Wanderful community is kicking off Black History Month with an Anti-Racism Town Hall for the Travel Industry.
Since June 2020, Wanderful has been committed to sparking conversations around how the travel industry can do better to advance racial equality and justice. This February 5th, you can RSVP to their virtual town hall (it’s free!). Expect conversations on how to bring anti-racism into 2021, how to create meaningful content about other cultures, and how businesses can attract and keep diverse travelers.
Similarly, Travel + Leisure is hosting an online event focused on the Black travel experience, called Black Print: The Black Travel Experience. The virtual event will focus on what it’s like to travel as a Black person, the effects of the pandemic on the industry, heritage travel, and so much more. RSVP here.
Join the Black Travel Alliance
All too often companies will roll out performative diversity goals with little follow-through. The Black Travel Alliance (BTA) was formed with a mission to fight for the representation of Black content creators around the world. When the BTA first launched, they did an excellent job of holding various travel companies accountable to their diversity goals.
Their #PullUpForTravel campaign asked tourism boards, media, and companies to share internal audits of their teams. The results are an eye-opening look at just how far the industry has yet to go in truly achieving racial equality, not just giving it lip service. You can join the Black Travel Alliance as an ally to support their ongoing efforts.
Follow these Black Women Who are Redefining the Travel Industry
From starting their own companies to launching entire communities of Black travelers, these trailblazing women are must-follows:
Evita Robinson, Founder of Nomadness Travel Tribe
Martinique Lewis, President of the Black Travel Alliance and Creator of The ABC Travel Greenbook
Annette Richmond, Founder of Fat Girls Traveling
Kellee Edwards, Travel Channel TV Host & Host of the Let’s Go Together podcast
Oneika Raymond, TV Host & Travel Journalist
Glo Atanmo, Entrepreneur and Host of The Glo Show podcast
Imani Bashir, Deputy Editor at Travel Noire
Dianelle Rivers- Mitchell, Founder of the community, Black Girls Travel Too
Jessica Nabongo, Founder of Jet Black and This is the Catch
Listen to Podcasts that Celebrate Diverse Voices
If you’re looking for a good podcast recommendation, consider giving Afros and Knives a listen. This podcast celebrates inspiring Black women within the food, beverage, and hospitality industry. Another great podcast to bookmark is Travel + Leisure’s Let’s Go Together, which is hosted by Travel Channel host, Kellee Edwards, interviewing diverse travelers.
Book Your Next Stay at a Black-Owned Hotel
One of the best ways to support Black entrepreneurs is to put your money where your allyship is. The next time you travel, consider putting your money towards Black-owned businesses and hotels. Condé Nast Traveler put together this excellent list of Black-owned hotels to support on your next trip.
Pick up a copy of the ABC Travel Green Book
In 1936, the original Negro Motorist Green Book (known simply as The Green Book) was published during the era of Jim Crow laws. The Green Book, which was written by New York City mailman Victor Hugo Green, served as a guide for Black road-trippers to safely navigate the country.
Originally, The Green Book focused on the New York area, but as it gained popularity it expanded nationally. The ABC Travel Green Book is a modern adaptation of the historic Green Book. Written by Martinique Lewis, The ABC Travel Green Book spotlights Black-owned businesses across six continents. For Black travelers and allies, it’s a great resource for supporting Black business owners on their travels.
Use your Platform for Good
As important as it is to read, follow, support, and join organizations that support racial justice; it is equally important to lift the voices of people of color. The Black Travel Alliance posted a Black History Month February challenge, asking its allies to spotlight at least two Black creatives on their platform, each week. Use your own platform to spotlight Black creatives you admire and whose work you want to promote — not just during Black History Month, but year-round.