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Industry Briefs
The Time For Unity Is Upon Us


In the hostile and toxic environment spawned by the extremely partisan and divisive presidential campaign and election, the time has come for those within our industry segment to join forces, work cooperatively, and seriously embrace the concept of unity.  In normal times, the meetings/travel/tourism industry has not been particularly hospitable to African-Americans and other people of color.  The numbers speak profoundly louder than any argument I could make here to support this perspective, with African-Americans holding a scant 2% of all senior level positions within our industry.  During these more challenging times, we must commit to supporting one another if we are all to survive, and more importantly, flourish.

From my point of view, there are four institutions within our corner of the industry that deserve our collective and complete support, advocacy and assistance.  Four organizations that over the years have consistently stepped up to the plate to represent all of our best interests and address our needs as a community of industry professionals.  The four organizations about which I speak are the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners (NCBMP), Travel Professionals of Color (TPOC), National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers (NABHOOD), and Black Meetings & Tourism (BM&T).  These organizations are there for you, and in the spirit of unity, as well as in your own best interests, you should be there for them.

The NCBMP, founded in 1983, is the premier association serving the needs of African-American meeting planners, and offers a full range of membership benefits, everything from educational conferences to personal and professional development, as well as networking and sales opportunities, among other things.  TPOC, founded in 2002, is designed to unify and mobilize Travel Professionals of Color, providing training, networking opportunities and support for travel agents and travel trade professionals around the globe.  The primary goal at NABHOOD, founded in 1996, is to increase the number of African-Americans developing, managing, operating and owning hotels, as well as to increase vendor opportunities and executive level jobs for minorities, thereby creating wealth within the African-American community.  And of course, BM&T was launched in 1993 to acknowledge the contributions of African-Americans in meetings, travel, tourism and hospitality, be an advocate for their concerns and issues, provide a platform for their voices to be heard, and promote diversity and inclusion throughout the industry.

Do you and your organization support these four institutions?  If not you should be.  As much good and positive work as each of these institutions has done in the years they have been operating, imagine how much more they could have accomplished with your support?  Our collective support?  Don’t make the mistake of assuming someone else will do it.  It’s your responsibility and no one else’s! 

Those who have been in the industry more than a few years will remember the InterAmerican Travel Agents Society (ITAS), the first professional association of Black travel agents established in 1953. For 50 years this pioneering organization worked diligently to promote, educate and represent Black travel agents, only to die a slow death on the vine without the support of enough travel agents and industry partners to sustain them.  Don’t let history repeat itself.  Support your institutions and they will continue to be there for you!

Go to www.blackmeetingsandtourism.com to learn more about each of these important organizations and resources.  Just scroll down to the bottom of the BM&T home page and you will find NCBMP, NABHOOD and TPOC icons that will link you directly to each of their individual websites.
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