Black travelers are a major force in the world of travel. And not just because of the hundreds of billions of dollars we spend annually on the tourism industry, but because of the diversity of our interests, the culture we represent, and our contributions to many Indigenous cultures.
Knowing this, Hurtigruten Group, the world’s leading adventure travel company, has launched the Black Traveler Advisory Board (BTAB) — a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiative, which is the first of its kind in the cruising industry. The mission of the group is to increase visibility and inclusivity of the Black traveler in the expedition cruising industry.
The official announcement comes from Antarctica, on a 18-day Antarctica voyage, where the group is currently sailing onboard Hurtigruten Expeditions’ renowned MS Roald Amundsen, the world’s first battery-hybrid ship. “The Black Traveler Advisory Board will not only help advance Hurtigruten Expeditions’ inclusivity goals, but ultimately, it will help drive change within the entire cruise industry,” says Anders Lindström Head of PR & Communications, the Americas.
He continues, “We are honored that these incredible leaders within their fields will work with us to drive visibility, identify opportunities within the Black travel movement, and help achieve some of our tangible goals. These include identifying Black scientists as potential lecturers onboard our ships, attracting more expedition leaders of color, learning more about unsung Black explorers that can be incorporated into the company’s expedition cruise itineraries, improving both our written and visual communications and marketing materials, and amplifying career opportunities through their networks.”
If Black travelers are seeking adventure, both traditional cruise ships of all sizes and expedition vessels can take them to it, with Hurtigruten leading the charge with destinations such as Antarctica and the new West Africa cruises, which will be launching this fall.
The six members of the advisory board include entrepreneurs, travel advisors, heads of tourism organizations, and true community influencers, all tapped into the industry’s latest trends and subsequent needs of the Black traveler. The group includes: Stephanie M. Jones, MBA, Chair of the BTAB; Kareem George, Founder and Principal of Culture Traveler, LLC; Naledi Khabo, CEO, Africa Tourism Association; Martinique Lewis, Co-Founder and President of the Black Travel Alliance; Rue Mapp, Founder and CEO of the national not-for-profit Outdoor Afro and Patricia Yarbrough, President of Blue World Travel.
Each member receives a fee for the duration of their engagement, with $5,000 also going to the organization or non-profit of their choice that works to benefit and empower Black travelers or the Black travel industry.