The National Blacks in Travel & Tourism Collaborative (BTT), powered by the Cultural Heritage Economic Alliance, Inc. (CHEA), is working in partnership with the Cultural Heritage Alliance for Tourism, Inc. (CHAT), a Black-owned receptive tour operator based in Miami, FL, as the first to introduce new regional Black cultural heritage tour (BCHT) itineraries in the U.S. and will represent diversity as the first Black-owned tour operator to exhibit at IPW, an international buyer event presented by U.S. Travel Association, in Las Vegas from September 18-22, 2021.
Black cultural heritage single, multi-day and private custom tour itineraries amplify Black culture through food, music, art, dance, as well as explore little known Black history and contemporary cultural experiences in off the beaten path places in U.S. destinations. The educational, entertaining, and interactive regional tour itineraries range from one to 14-day experiences covering up to three U.S. states and can be customized for groups.
“We are delighted to welcome CHEA and their partners as first-time exhibitors to IPW, which will further enhance the diverse and authentic experiences presented for international travelers to the United States and help Black-owned and Black-focused businesses and attractions in the U.S. reach a multi-national audience of tour operators and media,” said Malcolm Smith, General Manager of IPW, U.S. Travel Association.
The BCHT tour itineraries aim to illuminate, amplify, protect, and preserve cultural heritage throughout the United States through storytelling and authentic local experiences that are life-affirming and sustainable. Itineraries offer visitors authentic connections with people and places that have shaped Black communities from the past to the present.
“As the leading Black-owned receptive tour operators in the U.S., our mission is to create inclusion and engagement of local Black businesses and attractions in the trillion-dollar tourism industry, spurring economic growth and sustainability for cultural heritage small businesses and cultural institutions in underserved Black communities. In addition, our tour itineraries expand beyond the civil rights trail and underground railroad to introduce new Black businesses that provide cultural and heritage experiences in off the beaten path communities often not promoted to inbound travelers,” said Stephanie Jones, Founder, National Blacks in Travel and Tourism Collaborative.
In addition to exhibiting, Stephanie Jones is part of Connect Travel’s speaker line-up for IPW Focus on Wednesday, September 22, 2021, at 9:30 am PST speaking on “Discovering Black Cultural Heritage in the U.S.”
“Traveling through America provides an enriching experience, yet for complete, accurate, and authentic storytelling, we must diversify our industry to include more Black- and Brown-owned travel businesses. I am excited and honored to collaborate with BTT on behalf of the NTA community because bringing light to our rich multicultural heritage makes our industry stronger and further supports not only the intrinsic value but also the economic power of travel—for everyone,” says Catherine Prather, President, National Tour Association.
Black cultural heritage tour itineraries currently in development include Florida; Southeast (GA, NC & SC); Northeast (NY, NJ & PA); South I (AL, MS & LA) and South II (TN, KY & AR); Midwest I (MI, IL, IN & OH); West I (SW CA, AZ & NM). More regional itineraries will be added and announced later.
“What’s unique about these tour itineraries and our approach is that our product development team understands Black culture and how Black history should be shared: with authenticity and balanced perspectives by those with real-life stories of pain and triumph, and connections to the Black experience in the U.S.,” said Kelly McCoy, BCHT’s Tourism Development Consultant.
Here’s where to find BTT exhibiting and speaking at key industry events for 2021:
- IPW/Connect Travel, September 18-22, 2021, Las Vegas, NV (Listed as Cultural Heritage Economic Alliance, Inc. in Booth #3544 and participating in Media Marketplace)
- CruiseWorld, November 10-13, 2021, Miami, FL
- National Tour Association Conference (NTA), November 14-17, 2021, Cleveland, OH
About Black Cultural Heritage Tours
Powered by Cultural Heritage Alliance for Tourism, Inc. (CHAT), Black Cultural Heritage Tours offer local and regional, immersive single, multi-day and private custom Black cultural heritage tour itineraries, experiences, and connections to people and places that have shaped communities and culture from the past to the present. The Itineraries are intentionally designed to amplify and level the playing field for micro local, independent Black-owned businesses, attractions, and entrepreneurs, while creating transformative experiences for culturally curious travelers to gain a broader, comprehensive view of Black history and to celebrate the rich diversity of Black cultures in America. Learn more at www.experienceblackculture.com
About the National Blacks in Travel & Tourism Collaborative
The National Blacks in Travel & Tourism Collaborative’s (BTT) is powered by the Cultural Heritage Economic Alliance, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization based in Washington, DC. BTT’s mission is to facilitate the development of a thriving Black tourism ecosystem to ensure Black travel and tourism businesses are full participants in the travel industry. Working in collaboration with a diverse group of national travel & tourism organizations, small businesses, educators, media, and influencers, DMOs and other industry leaders, we curate and implement initiatives designed to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion, eliminate racial inequalities, and create economic opportunities to advance Blacks in travel and tourism. BTT strives to level the playing field to advance Blacks in travel and tourism businesses. www.blacksintourism.org
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