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Industry Briefs
Champions Awards Taking Shape For 2017

Black Meetings & Tourism
is gearing up for the BM&T Champions Awards Luncheon taking place next year in Washington, DC on September 20.  In development for the last year, the much-anticipated program will unfold at the Marriott Marquis Hotel across from the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.  The BM&T Champions Awards will be given to a select number of local, state and national elected officials whose advocacy and support have positively impacted travel and tourism.

Among the 2017 recipients of the BM&T Champions Awards is President Barack Obama, who is being honored for boldly launching his 2012 Executive Order announcing new initiatives to significantly increase travel and tourism to and within the United States.  These initiatives called for a national strategy, which has made the United States one of the world's top travel and tourism destinations, and have served to spur job creation in this country.

President Obama will not be the only one receiving an award next September.  He is one of several elected officials to be honored at the First Annual BM&T Champions Awards event.  If you know of an elected official you feel deserves recognition for their support of travel and tourism, please contact our office.

BM&T has partnered with members of the National Policy Alliance (NPA) to identify Black elected officials who have championed the cause of travel and tourism in both the international and domestic arenas.  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 Legislators (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 (NBCOLEO), National Black Caucus of School Board Members (NBC),  and World Conference of Mayors (WCM).  Black Meetings & Tourism is the official travel publication of the NPA.

In addition to honoring the elected official travel champions, we are pleased to announce that we will be kicking off the Black Meetings & Tourism Mentoring Program.  One hundred young men and women will meet and greet newly assigned mentors and be honored at this unprecedented luncheon.  Our objective is to provide real business experience to African-American young men and women who are interested in the travel industry, but who statistically may not ever be afforded the opportunity.  The luncheon will be the start of a yearlong pre-designed program that will help them to gain industry experience.

When you consider that the U.S. travel industry annually generates $2.2 trillion in economic output and supports 15 million jobs, and that fewer than 2% of the middle to upper management positions in the travel and tourism industry are held by African-Americans, you can clearly see the great need for our new BM&T Mentoring Program

Forum Meetings & Events, headed by Katrina Ruff, is the official planner for the Champions Awards Luncheon and Mentoring Program.  We are so pleased to have Forum and their super talented team as an integral part of this BM&T project

If you or your company are interested in participating as sponsors for the BM&T Champion Awards, we look forward to hearing from you.  If you are currently working in the industry and would like to serve as a mentor, please reach out to us.  And of course, if you would like to attend the BM&T Champions Awards program in person, please get in touch.   You can register or receive additional information by visiting the event website at

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