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BM&T Partners With GFLCVB To Organize Hosted Buyer Program


NPA Members to Participate in Town Hall Meeting and Jazz in Gardens Festivities

Black Meetings & Tourism (BM&T) has partnered with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau (GFLCVB) to bring members of the National Policy Alliance (NPA) to this popular Florida city famous for its beaches, arts and culture for a hosted buyer program.  Scheduled for March 13-17 at headquarters hotel Westin Diplomat Fort Lauderdale, about a dozen top association executives and meeting planners from the NPA will descend on Fort Lauderdale from around the nation to participate in a two-part Town Hall Meeting with local elected officials and representatives from the business, religious, hospitality and meetings communities.

The focus of the town hall meeting, organized by Black Meetings & Tourism, the official publication of the NPA, will be "Building Jobs And Entrepreneurial Opportunities Through Tourism Initiatives."  The panel will include three representatives from NPA - Mayor James Walls, Jr., president of World Conference of Mayors and mayor, City of District Heights, MD, Judge Denise Langford Morris*, chair - Judicial Council, National Bar Association, and Darlene Young*, national president, Blacks in Government - as well as Albert Tucker, vice president of Multicultural Business Development for GFLCVB, Andy Ingraham, president/CEO of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers, Matt Thomas, board member of the San Francisco African American Chamber of Commerce (that has called for a boycott of San Francisco's tourism/meetings industry), and a local Florida elected official, still to be determined.  Gloria Herbert, associate publisher/editor of Black Meetings & Tourism will serve as moderator.

The NPA is composed of 13 organizations, including the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF), Blacks in Government (BIG), National Bar Association (NBA), National Black Caucus of State Legislator (NBCSL), , National Black Caucus of State Legislators Foundation (NBCSLF), National Association of Black County Officials (NABCO), National Organization of Black County Officials, Inc. (NOBCO), National Conference of Black Mayors (NCBM), National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC0LEO), National Black Caucus of School Board Members (NBC),  and World Conference of Mayors (WCM).

In addition to the Town Hall Meeting, a number of events have been specifically designed for NPA delegates, including a city tour that will showcase Fort Lauderdale's meeting and conference product, as well as provide an opportunity for participants to experience the city's African-American history, culture and attractions.  There will also be a private business meeting between NPA attendees and representatives from GFLCVB and the Westin Diplomat to explore the possibility of bringing NPA meetings and conventions to the Fort Lauderdale area.  To facilitate this dialogue, NPA members will submit RFPs to the Bureau prior to their arrival.The hosted buyer program gets under way on Thursday afternoon, March 13 when Black Meetings & Tourism publishers/editors Solomon and Gloria Herbert set the tone for the 5-day program by delivering opening remarks to NPA delegates and invited guests about the publication's "Stay-A-Day, See Our USA" initiative, which was launched in September of 2012.

The basis of "Stay-A-Day" is to ask all visitors and conference attendees traveling to or within the US to add an extra day or more to their itinerary and: visit an African-American cultural and/or heritage site; dine at an Ethnic Eatery; and purchase items from African-American retail stores, artists and craft artisans.

Additionally, the program suggests, if possible: book travel/tours with an African-American Travel Agent, Tour Operator; stay at a Black-owned hotel or bed and breakfast; and worship at an African-American Church

The Herberts will drive home the point that an estimated $367.1 million in revenue would be added to the US economy each day if all international visitors extended their travel experience in this country.  And that approximately $1.8 billion a day would be generated if all domestic travelers included an additional day in their itineraries.  Imagine the economic impact possibilities if a fare share of these dollars found their way into our community.

The purpose of "Stay-A-Day…See Our USA" is to help revitalize the overall travel industry, contribute to creating jobs in African-American communities, stimulate the nation's economy, and just as importantly, expose travelers worldwide, to the enormous cultural impact that people of African descent have made in this country.

After the Herberts' opening remarks, the GFLCVB's Tucker will make a brief presentation to the NPA delegates and assembled guests, after which a discussion period and networking session will follow.

While the major thrust of this hosted buyer program is business related, NPA attendees will also have the pleasure of attending Jazz in the Gardens festivities on Saturday and Sunday.  LL Cool J, Jamie Foxx, Maze featuring Frankie Beverly, Trey Songz, Kelly Rowland, Mint Condition, Anthony Hamilton, Stanley Clarke, Rachelle Farrell and Boney James round out the popular annual event's lineup, with D. L. Hughley set to host.

*Invited, awaiting confirmation

For information about having Black Meetings & Tourism organize a hosted buyer program for your destination or venue, contact project manager Victoria Head at (818) 709-0646 or victoria@bmtmag.com.

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