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Industry Briefs

Over the 25 years we have published Black Meetings & Tourism I have been quite vocal about the lack of diversity and inclusion in the meetings/tourism/hospitality industry.  With over 500 convention & visitor bureaus in the US, there are only 12 CVBs headed by African-Americans.  Just a few state departments of tourism are run by African-American CEOs.  Less that 100 hotels out of 55,000 properties have African-American general managers.  And when you venture into the airline industry and cruise industry, with a few very significant exceptions, African-Americans are nowhere to be seen.

While we have done our part to keep this vital issue before industry movers and shakers and keep the dialogue going, we felt the time had come for Black Meetings & Tourism to address this issue with some definitive action, and not just words.  So last year we took some preliminary steps to begin organizing a mentoring program that would assist in connecting young people of color interested in entering the travel and meetings arena with seasoned industry professionals.

I am happy to report that BM&T is kicking off its mentoring initiative this year in Washington, DC while the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 48th Annual Legislative Conference (ALC '18) activities unfold.  We are presenting a Youth Forum Roundtable Discussion on Friday, September 14, 2018 at the Washington Plaza Hotel from 10:30 am - 11:50 am.  BM&T is bringing in students from the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism at Ballou Senior High School in Washington, DC to participate.

Several industry professionals representing different segments of the industry are being invited to interact with students and share information about employment opportunities and career options, as well as to answer any questions students may have.  The segments to be represented are CVBs, lodging, cruise, airline and meeting planners.  Confirmed panelists include: Marlinda Henry, president of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Planners and director of Planning for the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship; Albert Tucker, vice president of Multicultural Business Development for the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB; Norman Jenkins, board member of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners Operators and Developers (NABHOOD) and founder and president of Capstone Development, LLC; and Erin Tucker, Faculty Director of Global Hospitality at Georgetown University, who will serve as moderator.  Other invited guests include a representative from Delta Airlines and a Carnival Corporation senior executive.  Jenkins and Capstone are developers and owners of the Washington Marriott Marquis, the largest hotel in DC. 

Sponsors for the Youth Forum Roundtable Discussion include the Greater Fort Lauderdale CVB (title sponsor) and Visit Dallas.  Albert Tucker will present a $1,000 check from Black Meetings & Tourism to a lucky student for their scholarship fund.

Black Meetings & Tourism has partnered with the National Policy Alliance (NPA) to facilitate this event.  As the official travel publication for the organization, each year BM&T participates in the NPA business meeting and works closely with Executive Director Linda Haithcox-Taylor.  In addition to the Youth Forum, BM&T will also present a session entitled "Our National Treasures and Special Recognition of U.S. House Bill HR 115-105 400 Years of African American History Commission Act" just prior to the NPA Luncheon.  The two presenters for this session are BM&T Associate Publisher/Editor Gloria Herbert and Dennis Rogers, PhD, Assistant Professor, Shaw University and Vice President of Educational Programs and Research for Black Meetings & Tourism.

The Luncheon will be honoring Webster Guillory, NPA founder and features special invited guests the Honorable Dr. Benjamin Carson ( HUD Secretary), Congressman Danny Davis (IL), Congressman Anthony Brown (MD), Congressman Bobby Scott (VA), and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA).  At the luncheon, Black Meetings & Tourism will present BM&T Champions Awards to Webster Guillory and NPA member Judge Denise Langford Morris.  Albert Tucker will also present a BM&T Champions Award to Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (FL).

For more information about the NPA Luncheon/Business Meeting and BM&T Youth Forum, contact the NPA office at (202) 789-5200.

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