Black tourism: ‘A collective moment of implementing actionable steps’

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Black tourism: ‘A collective moment of implementing actionable steps’

By Blair Potter | Sep 30, 2022

Melissa Cherry, CDE, chief diversity and inclusion officer/SVP for Miles Partnership, was a panelist at the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals’ (NCBMP) ninth annual “State of Black Tourism” event (pictured) this week in Washington, D.C. We caught up with her discuss to the state of Black tourism—from where it stands today to how it can continue to thrive to why she remains optimistic about the future.
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Through a partnership with MPI, NCBMP members have access to benefits that are available exclusively for MPI members, including member rates for all MPI events and education and certification programs through the MPI Academy.

How you would you describe the current state of Black tourism?  

From my perspective, I feel we are at a collective moment of implementing actionable steps that have impact and measurable outcomes. No more of the same conversations that we have all participated in since well before 2020.

Does COVID-19 continue to have an impact on Black tourism, meetings/events, etc.? 

The good and bad of COVID is that it created a moment to see things as they were for our industry, leading to an opportunity to make meaningful change. As DEI continues to be a critical topic, we can’t let the fatigue of COVID be a distraction to what needs to be accomplished.

Does anything need to change to ensure the Black tourism industry continues to thrive?

Yes, the industry and the way/how we do business must evolve. The traditional model of who sits at the table and influences policy cannot continue to be homogenous. When I think about the opportunity of sustainability, destination stewardship and DEI, I don’t believe those things can happen in isolation. The very concept of destination stewardship embodies inclusion. And for Black tourism to continue to thrive, we need to maintain being a voice at that table.

What motivates you to continue advocating on behalf of Black tourism? 

Being able to visit a destination and sharing travel experiences with people I don’t know that look like me.

What makes you optimistic about the future of Black tourism?  

What makes me hopeful and excited for the future of Black tourism is the talent of young black leaders I see entering the industry. This is their time to make a path of where the travel and tourism industry can evolve and innovate. And for fellow Black leaders, it is our responsibility to support and elevate those young leaders to ensure they are empowered to be successful.

 

Author

Blair Potter
Blair Potter

Blair Potter is managing editor for The Meeting Professional. He likes toys and collects cats (or is it the other way around?).