African Americans added big bucks to the U.S. travel and tourism economy in 2018

According to a new study, African Americans added a big boom to the travel business amounting to some $63 billion in 2018.

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The study, conducted by Mandala Research, confirms a previous 2010 report that Black travelers are a plus to the tourism and travel economy in the US, debunking old assumptions that African Americans aren’t avid vacationers.

The study found that African Americans pick travel destinations with cultural and historical significance. Some 64 percent of the travelers reported those attractions are top destinations on their list because of its significance. The importance of African American cultural and heritage attractions rated at 43% for family reunion travelers.

The survey comprised of 1,700 respondents who are travelers in the African American population.

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Key takeaways from the survey:

  • The economic value of African American travelers has increased in 2018 to $63 billion from $48 billion in 2010. African American “cultural” travelers are the highest spenders, with an average per trip spend of $2,078 versus $1,345 for all African American travelers.

  • More than half reported that their most recent leisure destination was between 100-500 miles from home with Florida, New York City/New York, and Atlanta being top US destinations and Caribbean/Bahamas (38%) and Mexico (26%) mentioned as leading international destinations

  • Food and shopping are leading spend categories with nearly half of travelers spending on local and/or regional cuisine on their most recent leisure trip. Shopping continues to be a popular activity for vacationers, most often at malls (41%) and outlet malls (34%), but also downtown (28%).

Mandala added, “We’ve been able to confirm through our many studies among domestic and international travelers that the African American story in America is one that resonates with cultural travelers of all types – the general market traveler, the international visitor — because the story of African Americans is the story of America.”

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According to Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau President and CEO William D. Talbert, III, CDME, “The African American traveler is very important to the tourism market in Miami. Arts, culture and diversity make up the fabric of the community and key findings from this report show obvious alignment with interests of African Americans to the experiences and multicultural points of interest that Miami offers to both the leisure visitor and convention attendee.”

Gloria and Solomon Herbert, publishers of Black Meetings and Tourism Magazine, added “Since the last historic Green Book (Negro Travel Guide) was published in 1966, the growth in numbers and frequency of travel among African Americans continues to increase at unprecedented rates. In 2001, the African American market was identified by the United States Travel Association (USTA) as the number one fastest growing segment in the travel industry.

“Historically, Black people have tended to travel in groups for camaraderie and to some extent for protection. Now with the increased popularity of black travel clubs and networks, African American ‘baby boomers’, with more time and money, are exploring the world in a way they were never able to before.,” they continued.

Sponsors of the study included: Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, Bermuda Tourism Authority, NYC and Company, Virginia Tourism Corporation, Visit Baltimore, The Shop America Alliance, Black Meetings and Tourism Magazine, The Vonne Group, the Manumission Tour Company.

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