Study: Blacks choose destination, then see agent

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LAKE BUENA VISTA -- African-Americans tend to use travel agents only after deciding where they want to visit, according to Barry M. Feinberg, interviewed during the Florida Governor's Conference on Tourism, where he presented a study of African-American perceptions of Florida as a vacation spot.

Feinberg, senior vice president and director of the public affairs division at Audits & Surveys Worldwide of New York, said his study showed that "once African-Americans decide where to go, they get a travel agent to book hotels, airlines, etc."

In addition, in African-American households, females are inclined to take on the vacation planning task, he said.

Of particular interest to African-Americans looking to vacation are ethnic cultural events, festivals and historical sites, he said. "There's a very strong interest among African-Americans for vacations -- not necessarily in Florida -- that include African-American sites that could be part of a larger trip," he said.

Vacationers who live in the Southeast are more likely to consult with family and friends about travel to Florida than visitors who live in the Northeast, he added, attributing that to the proximity of Southern visitors who have more ready access to word-of-mouth information.

Feinberg's study focused on residents of Atlanta and Philadelphia. Study participants rated entertainment and climate as their highest priorities, followed by good weather and beaches.

About half of those who visited the state in the past said they are "very likely" to return within a year.

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