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Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel

Here's why many of those surveyed said their multicultural marketing initiatives were not as successful as they might otherwise be: 1) the inability to integrate multicultural marketing initiatives into the overall marketing mix; 2) lack of adequate funding; 3) insufficient internal support; 4) lack of relevant metrics to measure performance and success and 5) inconsistent top management support.

This survey is germane to our industry for two reasons. First and foremost is that some operations within our industry suffer from the same set of problems. Second, many organizations within the travel industry hire marketing and advertising firms or outside agencies to advise them on matters of diversity and multiculturalism, many with these same internal issues.

The most recent NAACP report on the lodging industry, revealed a significant drop in the number of "minority-owned" advertising agencies hired to advance multiculturalism. In 2006, just three of the 11 companies surveyed used an African-American advertising agency. The previous year there were eight Black-owned advertising agencies used. Given the current economic climate, it's a safe bet those figures won't improve in the near future.

Our sole mission at Black Meetings and Tourism is coverage of the African-American meetings, incentive and travel market. We feel it important to acknowledge those in our industry who have paved the way on diversity and inclusion. We are in discussion with our staff to possibly create a special "Diversity APEX Award." The litmus test for such an award will be based on many of the issues highlighted in this article. As an industry, we must increase the size of the tent for all. It's time. We get fatigued from having this discussion, but the need for diversity and inclusion remains.

Tony's final question was, "What will President Obama's impact be long term on African-American's in the travel industry?" While its too early to tell, the word symbolism quickly came to mind.

And finally, here is my answer to Tony's first question about what Obama's election victory meant to me. "This victory alone (Obama's win) is not the change we seek. It is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were," - President-Elect Barack

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