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Industry Briefs

Black Meetings & Tourism had another successful experience this year during IMEX America, which unfolded at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas October 16-19.   As we do each year, we had a BM&T booth on the trade show floor to distribute magazines as well as interact with meeting planners, travel agents, DMO reps and other attendees.

This year we also used the opportunity to promote our new initiative - Black America 250 - that marks the 250 th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.   This program, which runs through 2026, was created by Black Meetings & Tourism to ensure that stories from a Black perspective are included in the conversation and semiquincentennial celebration.   BA250 Team Members who helped man the booth included Leroy Savage and Brenda Scott-Savage, as well as Katrina Ruff of Forums Meetings & Events.

As part of this initiative, we are presenting Living Legend Awards to a number of deserving individuals from different fields of endeavor, including the Travel/Meetings/Hospitality industry.   During IMEX we presented a Living Legend Award to Melvin Tennant, who is the first Black President/CEO of a CVB ever (Oakland CVB in the early 1990s)!   He is currently serving as President/CEO of Meet Minneapolis since 2008.

Once again, Black Meetings & Tourism held a Meet Up that brought together Black planners, association execs and industry professionals to network, enjoy food and drink, and learn about some of the latest developments impacting the African-American market segment.   Because past BM&T Meet Ups have met with such great reviews, this year's event was even bigger and better (193 attendees), moving to the fabulous Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace.   Solomon and Gloria Herbert welcomed guests to the Meet Up, along with Tiara Ruff who served as MC.   Remarks were also made by Jason Dunn, executive director of the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals, who honored us with his attendance.  Kudos go to Caesars Entertainment for sponsoring the event (as they have done since its inception a number of years ago), with a special thank you going to Reina Herschdorfer of Caesars for her ongoing generous support of Black Meetings & Tourism and the more than $129 billon market segment that we serve.

As a result of the impressive Meet Ups BM&T has held for African-American attendees in years past, event officials asked us to organize a Hosted Buyer Event for Black Planners as a part of IMEX America activities this year.   So we put together an outstanding event that was attended by 30 Black planners representing some o the nation's major organizations and corporations.  Thank you IMEX America for inviting Black Meetings & Tourism to organize the Hosted Buyer Event, and sponsors like the Bermuda Department of Tourism, the East Point CVB, Visit Jacksonville, and Experience Prince George's for supporting this three-say event.   BM&T has already agreed to organize both the Meet Up and Hosted Buyer Event at IMEX America 2024.

Black Meetings & Tourism must acknowledge the incredible work of its official meeting planner Katrina Ruff and her outstanding Forums Meetings & Events team (including daughter Tiara Ruff and son Rickey Ruff II), who made this all happen.   They are simply the best!

Stay tuned for details about next year's events at IMEX, and meeting planners be sure to get in touch if you'd like to be a hosted buyer.   For more information contact BM&T at and (818) 694-7830, or Forums Meetings & Events at and (303) 366-1014.

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