Black U.S. travelers make decisions based on safety, representation

In part one of the Black Traveler: Insights, Opportunities and Priorities study, MMGY Global revealed that Black leisure travelers in the United States spent $109.4 billion on travel in 2019.

Now in part two, MMGY finds that Black travelers, particularly those in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom and Ireland, are paying close attention to how destinations and travel providers approach diversity and say that has influenced their travel decision-making.

Specifically, how Black people are represented in marketing and advertising collateral plays a key role in decision-making, with 54% of U.S., 42% of U.K./Ireland and 40% of Canadian Black travelers agreeing that they’re more likely to visit a destination if they see Black representation in advertising.

However, there is less agreement among Black travelers from France (27%) and Germany (15%).

“It is not surprising that Black representation in advertising and safety highly influence U.S. Black travelers more so than Black travelers from France and Germany where awareness and discussions about racial issues are more muted,” says Ursula Petula Barzey, research committee chair, Black Travel Alliance.

“America’s history of slavery followed by repressive Jim Crow laws, segregation, institutional racism and continuing police brutality has made U.S. Black travelers cautious. It’s why Victor Hugo’s The Negro Motorist Green Book published from 1936 to 1966, and now modern-day online communities where Black travelers gather are so important. We have an increasing desire for leisure travel and love it when destinations actively market to us but want to make sure that the experience will be a positive one.”

The study was created by MMGY Travel Intelligence on behalf of Black traveler advocacy organizations to identify the needs, behaviors and sentiment of the Black travel community.

Says MMGY Global CEO Clayton Reid: “The findings of this report, along with the sustained calls by Black travelers for diversity and equality, should be an impetus for the travel industry to make a long-needed change. Companies should be prepared to demonstrate their moral and ethical commitment to ensuring Black travelers are given the service and hospitality that they so rightly deserve.”

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