Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel
Industry Briefs

Board Chairman National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals

Recently across the country we celebrated National Travel & Tourism Week from May 3-8. National Travel & Tourism Week was created to elevate awareness of the global impact of the hospitality industry. The hospitality industry contributes an estimated $1.5 trillion USD of annual GDP and $1.07 trillion in direct spend. We support 26 million direct and indirect jobs globally. People depend on that spending – and on those jobs, specifically $325 billion USD in direct spending and 2.5 million jobs in the United States alone. Our industry has been forced to sharply curtail, even eliminate entirely, their activities. Businesses are faltering. The lights have been darkened and we are uncertain when – or if – they will come back on. The hospitality community is in distress about their ability to make ends meet, but We must Fall UP and not Fall Down.

There is no question that these uncertain times are impacting all of us in different ways. In full transparency, I am standing at the intersection of inspiration and depression. On any given day, I experience both ends of the spectrum. On one hand, it is difficult to witness the sudden barrenness of an industry known for creating vibrancy. Our industry is one that is accustomed to sparking energy, uplift and empowerment; yet we find ourselves with our backs against the wall. We must Fall UP and not Fall Down.

On the other hand, the current challenges impacting our industry compel us to exhaust all collaborative efforts and resources with an eye toward pulling the best out of each of us. We have DEFINED the meaning of pivot and led the way with hope and humanity. We have smiled through the pain and helplessness and shouldered the burdens of those loyal to us, our hospitality family, and those who depend on us. We must Fall UP and not Fall Down.

My faith gives me solace that we will come through this better. We will be stronger. We will be smarter. We will, as we have before, lead the recovery of our nation. That is what drives me and keeps me positive. That is what inspires me... being unapologetically ready to lead. So, as we muster up the strength to celebrate National Travel & Tourism Week, let us not forget that we embody the tenacity, perseverance and innovation to pick up the pieces and lead. We must Fall UP and not Fall Down.