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Industry Briefs

Black Meetings & Tourism presented their coveted Apex Awards for Distinguished Service in the travel, tourism, hospitality and meetings industry on July 28 th at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay Hotel as part of the 5th Annual International Multicultural & Heritage Tourism Summit & Trade Show. The BM&T Apex Awards were hosted by publishers Solomon and Gloria Herbert, with PJ Douglas Sands serving as mistress of ceremonies and Dr. William "Bill" Pickard, co-managing partner, MGM Grand Casino Detroit, and CEO of Global Automobile Alliances, as keynote. 

The BM&T Apex Awards are annually presented to a select number of individuals who have made outstanding contributions in their particular fields of endeavor that have positively impacted travel and tourism. To be considered for a BM&T Apex Award, candidates must: provide long-term benefits for the travel industry and the African-American market segment; represent a national level of prominence; and demonstrate a track record of a minimum of two years.

This year the awards recognized a cross section of professionals from many segments of the industry, including recipients from destination marketing organizations, a Caribbean ministry of tourism, meeting and event planning organizations, a top public relations marketing firm, an elected official, and the CEO of South African Tourism. 

The 2018 Apex Award recipients are:


  • Marcus Margerum, vice president, Government and Community Affairs at the Atlanta CVB;

  • Kitty Ratcliffe, president of Explore St. Louis;

  • Marlinda A. Henry, president of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners and director of Events and Planning for Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship;  


  • Mayor Stephen K. Benjamin, City of Columbia;


  • Antwone Stigall, founder of Black Meeting & Event Professionals affinity spaces on Facebook and LinkedIn;


  • Dionisio James D'Aguilar, Minister of Tourism and Aviation for the Commonwealth of Bahamas;


  • Bevan Springer, president & CEO of Marketplace Excellence;


  • Angela Clayborne, executive director of Destination Lancaster, and


  • Sisa Ntshona, CEO of South African Tourism.

The Summit & Trade, which ran from July 27-29, was presented by the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers (NABHOOD), International Multicultural & Heritage Tourism Network (IMFITN), Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, Black Meetings & Tourism magazine and Horizons International Group, Inc. The conference theme was "Diversity is the Key in the Travel Market."  The Multicultural Summit & Trade show was preceded by the 22nd Annual International African American Hotel Ownership & Investment Summit & Trade Show, also held at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay Hotel July 25-27.

The summit is designed to educate attendees on how to gain a share of the $90 Billion+ Multicultural & Heritage Tourism market, share minority travel trends, learn how to market Multicultural & Heritage Tourism and look at diversity issues affecting the Hospitality industry. Multicultural and Heritage Tourism is the fastest growing segment in the tourism industry. The Summit is also intended to empower urban and rural communities to become self-sufficient through the development and marketing of Multicultural & Heritage Tourism.

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