Black Travel Alliance calls on travel firms for more than just words of support

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A section of an Instagram image from the Black Travel Alliance, a new group of black travel content creators, that shows some of the founding members of the group.
A section of an Instagram image from the Black Travel Alliance, a new group of black travel content creators, that shows some of the founding members of the group. Credit: Black Travel Alliance

A newly formed group launched a scorecard to evaluate how travel brands and organizations represent the black community in their employment, marketing campaigns, philanthropy and other areas. 

The Black Travel Alliance, a group of black travel content creators, is calling on the travel industry to “work towards meaningful representation of black voices.” 

In a statement, the group called on the industry destination management organizations and travel brands to do more than show support for the black community on social media and said it will measure travel companies “on not just what they say, but also what they do.”

The alliance said it will collect data in five area to launch a Black Travel Scorecard:

• Employment -- Current number and percentage of black people in management and on staff.

• Conferences & Tradeshows -- Black representation (number and percentage) on speaker panels, workshops, sessions, etc.

• Paid Advertising/Marketing Campaigns  --  Black representation (number and percentage) in TV, radio, print and digital channels including social media.

• Press -- Black representation (number and percentage) on media/press trips in 2019.

• Philanthropy -- Charitable contributions and support (i.e. mentorship and intern programs, etc.) to black charities and community groups.

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Meet the team behind @theblacktravelalliance. This all began as an idea on a Friday and materialized within 24 hours. THAT is the power of collective minds coming together for change 🙌🏾 • However this movement would not move without each and every one of you. Welcome to team BTA! Thank you for every like, share, comment, tag, hashtag and DM showing your love and support. Don’t let off the gas! Continue to tag these brands that need to #PULLUPFORTRAVEL and continue to spread the word. Our voices and stories will be seen and heard in the travel space! #blacktravelalliance #pulluporshutup . . . . @blackvoyageurs @marty_sandiego @thetravelingchild @chubbydiaries__ @thatcouplewhotravels @packslight @loyaltytravels @passportsandgrub @shidad @outdoorsydiva @thesophislife @caribbeanandco @worldofawanderer @huesofdelahaye @misterlevius @wondersowanders @travelingwithcuteluggage

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Citing a 2018 report from Mandala Research showing that black Americans spend $63 billion on travel each year, the alliance said there is not enough black representation in the management and staff of larger travel companies, on travel press trips and in marketing campaigns, even from cities and countries that attract or constitute a large number of black people.

The Black Travel Alliance is asking travel companies to communicate their metrics publicly in five key areas by June 19 and launched a campaign with the hashtag #PullUpForTravel on social media. 

The Black Travel Alliance said it launched in the wake of social unrest from George Floyd’s publicized death and the ensuing support for Black Lives Matter by travel brands and companies.

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Have you ever tried googling “Traveler” in google images? Well don’t bother, you will hardly see a black or brown face in the search results. It is as if black travelers do not exist, same goes with magazines, online publications, marketing campaigns… You name it. Seeing travelers who look like us represented in the travel industry is too often a far-fetched dream. This needs to change. #Blackvoyageurs stands in alliance with @theblacktravelalliance who is calling travel brands and destinations to take #BlackOutTuesday support beyond social media and work toward meaningful representation of Black voices in the travel industry. Please join the movement and ask all travel companies who have released a statement of support of Black Lives Matter to #PullUpForTravel and—within the next 72 hrs—publicly provide the following information: • Employment - Number of Black people in management & on staff • Conferences & Tradeshows - Black representation on speaker panels, workshops, sessions, etc • Paid Advertising/Marketing Campaigns - Black representation in TV, radio, print and digital channels including social media • Press - Black representation on media/press trips • Philanthropy - Charitable contributions and support (i.e. mentorship and intern programs, etc.) to Black charities and community groups • You made statements and policies advocating equal opportunity. Show us the proof! If you don't have stats, provide next steps on how you plan to level the playing field. PULL UP or SHUT UP! #PullUpForTravel #BlackTravelAlliance

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“Black Travel Alliance was heartened to see that many destinations and travel brands showed support during #BlackOutTuesday. However, dismantling systemic racism requires more than social media activism,” Jeff Jenkins, founding member of the alliance, said in a statement.

“Destination management organizations and travel brands need to truly become more inclusive in their hiring practices and marketing campaigns.”

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