when Blacks in Travel and Tourism Founder Stephanie Jones originally set up the organization in March 2020, with the goal of addressing the lack of representation at meetings discussing recovery from the pandemic. Two years later, BTT developed into a global conglomerate facilitating the advancement of blacks in the travel and tourism industry.
As a resource for the entire global travel and tourism industry, BTT is changing the playing field for black travel professionals and providing them with the tools to thrive in an ever-changing space. With multiple strategic partnerships with industry organizations such as Brand USA, US Travel Association and Northstar Travel Group as well as strong relationships with numerous trade associations and destination marketing organizations, Jones positions BTT as a thought leader in the industry.
“BTT has introduced many innovative programs and initiatives such as Diversity Tourism Academy, Black Tourism Talent Directory, DEI Deep Dive Masterclass, and Black Cultural Heritage Tours GroupJones said. “These programs are designed to level the playing field for blacks in travel and tourism as well as maintain diversity, equality, and inclusion in the industry.”
As a cooperative, BTT has alliances with 13 black travel and tourism organizations. They have access to more than 500,000 travelers and currently have over 1,300 minority suppliers through their global network. With such a massive scale, BTT is making a huge impact on black travelers and travel professionals by maintaining diversity in the industry both in the United States and abroad.
“It is imperative that blacks in travel and tourism work collaboratively to build an ecosystem that can help create new businesses and new professional careers and sustain existing businesses and professional careers that put members in a better position to thrive and access equal opportunities in the travel and tourism industry,” she said. “There is strength in numbers, and members can benefit from collaboration to help advance their individual efforts, as well as partners to access broader opportunities.”
The wealth of knowledge shared via BTT and its affiliate partners is preparing more travel professionals to create safe travel opportunities for black travelers. A cadre of respectful individuals, BTT Guidelines assists in literal travel in a friendly manner for travelers of color.
“It is very important to have access to a trusted source of black travel professionals who can share their real stories and experiences of traveling abroad,” she said. “Black travel groups like Travel nomads tribeBlack travel, black travel too! It and others provide real-time resources and feedback on how and where to stay safe while traveling. In addition, our Black Travel Consultants are experienced, certified, knowledgeable about destinations, and can provide travel insights that only they can access to help ensure a safe way to travel and experience the world.”
In addition, BTT implements initiatives and creates programs that equalize opportunities for blacks to travel. By providing them with access to job opportunities, media exposure, and consulting, BTT is making the travel industry a more diverse space and pumping more money into the homes of black entrepreneurs.
“We are leveling the playing field for local black businesses to access consistent tourist traffic and revenue to help maintain and expand their business,” she said.
With everything they have accomplished so far, BTT is moving forward with a consistent game plan as a communication medium between black tourists and travel professionals. They are working with selected organizations to form the Black Leadership Council in Travel and Tourism and launch a national advocacy program to ensure black representation in travel and tourism to advance black business and professionals by creating a level playing field at the federal level.
The organization plans to continue building relationships with black travel and tourism organizations and to bridge the gap between people of color and the travel industry.