The age-old view that traveling and going places for leisure is a ‘white people’ thing is being challenged on the steady this decade. It’s been a strongly held belief that black people rarely do things or travel abroad for the fun of it. If it’s not paying the bills or a life event, it’s assumed black people ‘just don’t have money to waste’.
The idea that black people don’t willingly travel to exotic places for leisure is such a widely held belief; it;s been a norm in mainstream media. It makes one wonder, if there really is a truth to that fact or it’s all fabrications to keep the black man mentally subjugated.
While there could be some truth, in the fact that there are a lot of blacks not ready to splurge on an exotic holiday destination with their significant other or family; one could argue this this is more of a matter of economics than mindset. It doesn’t make much sense to rack up huge debt to go on a dream vacation when your finances can only sustain your current lifestyle. As some will word it, when your purse in not heavy enough to carry the weight of your dreams. But, the concern over the price of a luxury vacation is not solely exclusive to blacks, it is a problem faced by a whole economic class of people. White, black, brown and every other shade in between.
Luckily, the single narrative of blacks not being open to leisure travel is being challenged by the Black Travel Movement. According to the About Us page on the official website of the Black Travel Movement, “Black Travel Movement is a community of friends and family who share an interest in cultivating new friendships and epic experiences through international worldwide travel.”
What started as a small online community of black millennials with a passion for travelling back in the early parts of 2015, has grown to become an all-inclusive community for persons of African descent.
The Black Travel Movement can be seen all over social media, with its message loud and clear. Dear Travel Industry: We’re Black and we do travel places other than tropical islands. What initiated the movement is the need to combat the stereotypes that black people don’t travel, or if they do, it’s infrequently to Miami or Jamaica.
Due to the wrongly held notion about the travelling habits of Black Americans, major brands were not keying into this huge share of the travelling industry. With a buying power now reaching 1.1 trillion according to blackenterprise.com. Sources estimate that black Americans contribute over 40 billion to the nationwide travelling industry according to news reports. It’s no surprise that tourism boards such as the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism (BMOT) are actively seeking to attract African Americans visitors.
This brought about the birth of various Black travel communities such as Black & Abroad, Travel Noire, and Nomadness Travel Tribe. These communities have over 15,000 active members in their early days but they have grown massively since then to power house travel businesses and influencers. Apart from helping black Americans connect and discuss traveling, these movements also help in the organizing of group tours and other related events for their members.
According to reports from a top travel and hospitality marketing firm, MMGY Global, there has been a marked increase in the intent to travel among African-Americans. According to a report from them published in early 2017, the intent to travel increased from a lowly 5 percent recorded back in 2013 to a more respectable 19 percent in 2016.
This marked increase has been associated to the daily increasing number of online traveling guides and group tour organizers started by black Americans to key into this segment of the travel industry. These groups and communities are what is collectively called the Black Travel Movement.
Whether it’s a trend or will continue to grow. It’s coming from the voices of Young African American travelers. Majority who are sharing and narrating their own travel stories which erases the option to be ignored or suppressed. Urban Away encourages travelers to continue to travel, share, explore, create and be a part of the movement!