Black Travel Trends & COVID: How an Underserved Market is Transforming Travel

25 May 2021

From the onset of COVID-19 to the Black Lives Matter movement, 2020 was a year that changed our lives in more ways than one. Travel was one of the hardest-hit industries as COVID-19 spread to nations across the globe. To assess the impact that COVID-19 specifically had on leisure travel habits amongst black travelers, Green Book Global, the first and only black travel review site, polled over 2000 black travel respondents from over 60 countries between November 2020 and January 2021.

While the report covers leisure travel of all kinds, there will be a particular focus on key findings related to adventure travel in the upcoming webinar hosted by the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) and Green Book Global.

Key findings about black adventure travelers:

  • When asked what they look for when they plan a trip, adventure is a key component with 54% of travelers looking for that in their trip. Private day trips, historical/heritage tours, and food tours are the most popular activities amongst Black travelers. In the upcoming seminar, destinations and activities that have attracted black travelers for the various levels of adventure will be outlined.
  • While many people were forced to change their travel plans as a result of the pandemic, travel did not stop altogether for most Black travelers. Because 58% of those surveyed travel for mental health, many deem travel to be an essential part of their livelihood. This is an important aspect to consider when desiring to attract black consumers even for adventure-based travel. To that end, the survey revealed that the majority of travelers either modified or postponed travel plans while only 37% canceled travel plans completely.
  • The majority (63%) of travelers plan to increase their travel once the pandemic is over. A year with less travel has made travelers antsy and has highlighted the fact that “life is short, [and] there is so much to see.” Of these 63%, the majority are excited to travel more internationally:
From the 2021 Black Travel Survey: Trends and the Impact of COVID-19 Report

What do Black travelers look for when they plan a trip?

  • 67% want to do something cultural with the local people
  • 58% are interested in trying the local food and beverage
  • 54% look for adventure activities
  • 41% want to do something “Black” (i.e., finding the Black connection to a destination)
From the 2021 Black Travel Survey: Trends and the Impact of COVID-19 Report

With the majority of those surveyed spending at least $2000 on their trips, and African Americans spending over 100 billion dollars annually on travel, black travelers represent a very important segment of travelers that has long been ignored by the travel industry.

Photo Courtesy Lawrence Phillips

“After my own personal experience traveling to over 60 countries and not always feeling welcomed in the places I traveled to, I wanted to shed a light on the intricacies of black travelers. My goal is that through this report and our black travel review site, travel advisors, tour operators and DMO’s will have more information to cater their messaging and experiences to this demographic,” says Lawrence Phillips, Green Book Global founder. The survey covers a variety of topics including how travel plans changed as a result of the pandemic, domestic and international spending habits, and details on the type of activities most preferred.

The Original Negro Motorist Green Book was first published in 1936 by Victor Hugo Green with the intent of helping black travelers navigate America during Jim Crow and segregation. Paying homage to the name, Green Book Global's mission is to inspire and empower black travelers to confidently explore the world. They want to help make black travel as easy as possible with their platform but also make a more socially equitable travel space so black travelers can feel welcome and safe when traveling.

Additionally, as the first and only black travel review site, they are able to share viewpoints of black travelers from thousands of users and reviews on their platform. Of the website users that have filled out profiles on the site, over 60% self-identify as Adventure Seekers as their primary travel style. With that being the case, the top-ranked North American destinations for adventure for this group that include Jamaica, Costa Rica, and Hawaii.

With regards to booking habits, black travelers tend to book a minimum of 3 months out (19%), with 30% booking 5+ months out. Over half (64%) have booked a destination based on what they have seen on social media, with Tripadvisor being the most commonly used tool when planning a trip.

"I am often asked whether black people would be interested in a particular destination. The right question is do you want black people to come to your destination or on your tour? This survey coupled with the data from our platform demonstrates that black travelers are not monolithic and have varied things that appeal to them. I am excited to share some of these findings with you.” says Lawrence.

Want to learn more?

There is both a free version of the 2021 Black Travel Survey: Trends and the Impact of COVID-19 Report and a more detailed paid version. The paid version includes detailed information about Black travelers’ choice of upcoming destinations, accommodation preferences, domestic and international travel habits, and more. A purchase of the paid report also includes a 60-minute Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Consultation with Lawrence Phillips, the CEO & Founder of Green Book Global. Lawrence has over a decade of experience in consulting and a passion for making a more equitable travel space for black travelers.

Join Lawrence & the Adventure Travel Trade Association

Lawrence Phillips

On June 8, 2021, ATTA is hosting a Meet the Experts: Black Travel Trends & COVID: How an Underserved Market is Transforming Travel webinar, with Lawrence Phillips.  Green Book Global is the first-ever black travel review site, and with his unique platform, Lawrence will highlight destination-focused insights related to adventure travel, unlike other resources. He will also dive into the latest trends about the black traveler and how shifts in behaviors (as a result of the pandemic) create an opportunity to increase your business while making a more equitable travel space. In this webinar, explore insights from the 69-page black travel report highlighting Pre/Post-COVID trends by Age, Income, and domestic and international travel. At its end, he will outline specific adventure-focused strategies to help equip destinations, tour operators, and travel advisors to authentically attract black travelers.

Register for the Webinar