Black history and culture rank highly in people's travel planning, study says

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A concert of traditional Gullah Geechee spiritual music was held at the Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park on Hilton Head Island, S.C., during the 2019 Juneteenth Festival."
A concert of traditional Gullah Geechee spiritual music was held at the Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park on Hilton Head Island, S.C., during the 2019 Juneteenth Festival."

Interest in African American culture and history is an important driver in travel choices, particularly among Black travelers and millennials, according to a new report from Mandala Research.

The research, conducted for the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor in the southeastern U.S., found that 36% of all travelers ranked Black heritage as either "very important" or "somewhat important" in their choice of destination. That rose to 50% among African Americans and 49% among millennials.

The survey of 1,000 U.S. leisure travelers was conducted in June as part of a broader effort to explore the national market for Gullah Geechee heritage tourism.

It valued the potential leisure spend for the four states that make up the corridor -- North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida -- at $34 billion, while also revealing strong name recognition among travelers nationwide for Gullah Geechee culture.

Looking specifically at Gullah Geechee destinations, the survey found that 37% of travelers who lived in nearby states were familiar with Gullah Geechee culture and that 51% of African American culture enthusiasts were aware of it. Levels of awareness were also high among African American, LGBTQ, millennial and affluent travelers.

Sixty-five percent of respondents said experiencing local cuisine in the Gullah Geechee corridor was their most desired experience.

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