Black people are spending a lot on tourism and we want to spend those funds supporting Black-owned businesses. But where does one start?
In 2019, MMGY Global reported that Black U.S. leisure travelers spent $109.4 billion on domestic travel. In that same year, they also spent $129.6 billion on international travel. As we re-enter pre-pandemic travel levels, those numbers are increasing. Although the industry is ever-growing, it can still do more for diversity and inclusion in its advertising and outreach. This sentiment is resonating within the travel community. In a follow-up report conducted in 2021, the group found that 54% of Black tourists were “more likely to visit a destination if they see Black representation in travel advertising.”
For Black Business Month, we compiled a list of some of the movers and shakers in the this particular industry creating dynamic travel experiences for novice and veteran Black globetrotters.
Goods and Services
Orion Brown, Black Travel Box: It’s no secret that skin and body care products in hotel rooms are not always melanin-friendly or readily available in travel-size packaging. To bridge the gap, the company offers a variety of Black hair and skin products such as balms, co-wash, and conditioners in TSA-compliant sizes.
Tech and Resources
Martinique Lewis, ABC Greenbook App: Safety has always been a concern for Black tourists domestically and abroad. As an expert in travel diversity and a globetrotter, Lewis understood the importance of keeping both issues at the forefront. Inspired by the Negro Motorist Green Book used during the Jim Crow era, she created this app to help Black travelers find community anywhere in the world.
Tour and Experience Operators
Yollie Copeland, Explore Jax Core: Although the tours offered by Explore Jax Core are specific to the Jacksonville, Fla. region, for those venturing to the city with a quest for Black history, culture, and exploration, this is the premiere option. Copeland carefully maps out stops based on participants’ interests and provides an unfiltered look at Jacksonville throughout the years.
Stephanie M. Jones, Cultural Heritage Alliance for Tourism: CHAT is an award-winning receptive tour operator, connecting travelers with local experts on Black history. By using small businesses as local experts, they can provide culturally curious travelers with authentic storytelling. CHAT magnifies the Black culture in any city they operate in by acknowledging and celebrating the contributions of unknown and little-known trailblazers, inventors, and activists.
Christina Rice, OMNoire: Retreats and wellness spaces have been another category that has held little to no representation for Black women. Created to offer a place to rejuvenate, find healing, or grow in certain aspects of life, OMNoire hosts global retreats. From book lovers to wine enthusiasts and yoga experts, there are retreats for every interest.
Travel Agents and Planners
Tisha Neufville, Neufville Travel: Recognized as a “Top Travel Specialist 2023” by Conde Nast, Neufville’s travel agency goes beyond traditional tours to provide clients with immersive and unforgettable experiences across the globe. As a former resident of Asia, she has a concentrated focus on creating itineraries for Thailand, Vietnam, and Japan. The latter has earned her recognition from the Japan National Tourism Organization as an advanced specialist. Whether visiting for rest, exploration, or cultural experiences, travelers can expect an elevated itinerary beyond traditional tourist encounters.
Tillie and Joseph James, Tilly James Travel: The husband and wife duo specialize in luxury vacation planning for coveted destinations worldwide, including customized itineraries for any occasion, solo, group, or corporate travel, and luxurious cruises. The pair are also experts in planning heritage tours to assist travelers in connecting with their roots. For non-profit organizations, the agency can aid in planning fundraiser trips.
Priscilla Powell, Prissi Travels: The itineraries designed by Prissi are done with busy professionals in mind who are ready to be fully immersed in vacation mode. The agency is also known for hosted experiences in locations such as Kenya and Dubai that are perfect for solo travelers who may want to be a part of small groups of like-minded people. Also a premiere choice for celebrations, they take celebratory vacations and destination weddings to the next level with unlocked hidden gems in well-known and under-the-radar destinations.
Jessica E. Boyd, Journey Black Home: Boyd’s platform curates listings of Black-owned Airbnb stays in the United States to assist fellow travelers in connecting with Black hosts. The listing is a much-needed answer to the long-standing history of discriminatory practices by other hosts on the platform towards minorities. The travel platform also contains listings of Black-owned restaurants, bars, and cultural experiences. Essentially, the website is a comprehensive guide to everything a Black traveler would need to feel at home during their journey.
Ama Marfro, Airfordable: Airfare can sometimes be the most expensive part of travel. Airfordable seeks to make the prices of flights manageable for all budgets by breaking up the cost of flights into bi-weekly installments. Patrons will not undergo a credit check, but a deposit is required to secure the ticket(s). The final payment must be made before the departure date. This service allows passengers to lock in a great price or purchase multiple tickets at once, absorbing some of the financial strain of a costly upfront transaction.
For your next vacation, consider using the services of one of these trusted travel experts or services.