Black Travel Alliance Holds Travel Brands Accountable


Equipped with the hashtag #PullUpForTravel, the newly formed group is calling for meaningful representation of Black voices in the travel industry.


In an effort to end the systemic lack of diversity in the travel industry, the Black Travel Alliance launched the #PullUpForTravel campaign, calling on travel brands to be more inclusive in their hiring practices, advertising campaigns, and more.


For many Black people, travel begins by acknowledging that the tourist experience is not the same for everyone. People of color, Black travelers in particular, are often judged by the color of their skin, and make travel decisions based on perceptions of how they'll be treated once they arrive. But the pivotal information of whether hotels and destinations actively support Black travelers is largely absent from mainstream conversations. The newly formed Black Travel Alliance, an initiative launched this month in support of true diversity across the travel industry, from increasing hotel employment to calling for more representation in destination marketing content and travel panels, aims to change that.


The Alliance, which was formed in March at the onset of the pandemic, began as a venue for Black creators to discuss how travelers would begin navigating the new normal after COVID-19, according to travel blogger and launch member Martina Jones. “We started having a mastermind every Friday to talk about how we could still serve our audiences, and also to support one another," she says. "Then, when George Floyd died, we were like, 'Okay, enough is enough.'”


The death of Houston native George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police department was captured on video, setting off Black Lives Matter protests around the world against police brutality, and against systemic racism more broadly. In response, many companies posted blank black squares to their social media feeds in an attempted show of solidarity. But this recent wave of violence has incited calls for greater action against racism, sparking intense conversations about the inclusion of Black voices and faces across all industries, from food and beverage to music and travel.


For many Black people, travel begins by acknowledging that the tourist experience isn't the same for everyone. Black travelers are often judged by the color of their skin, and make travel decisions based on perceptions of how they'll be treated once they arrive. But the pivotal information of whether hotels and destinations actively support Black travelers is largely absent from mainstream conversations. The Black Travel Alliance, a new initiative launching today in support of true diversity across the travel industry, from increasing hotel employment to calling for more representation in destination marketing content and travel panels, aims to change that.

The Alliance, which was formed in March at the onset of the pandemic, began as a venue for Black creators to discuss how travelers would begin navigating the new normal after COVID-19, according to travel blogger and launch member Martina Jones. “We started having a mastermind every Friday to talk about how we could still serve our audiences, and also to support one another," she says. "Then, when George Floyd died, we were like, 'Okay, enough is enough.'”

The death of Houston native George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police department was captured on video, setting off Black Lives Matter protests around the world against police brutality, and against systemic racism more broadly. In response, many companies posted blank black squares to their social media feeds in an attempted show of solidarity. But this recent wave of violence has incited calls for greater action against racism, sparking intense conversations about the inclusion of Black voices and faces across all industries, from food and beverage to music and travel.


“Right now, so many brands are saying they support Black people in light of everything that's going on,” says Jones. "But the number of Black people who hold these positions and create content doesn’t support their statements. We created an organization that will hold the industry accountable.”


One of the Alliance's launch initiatives is the Black Travel Scorecard, which will evaluate destinations and travel brands under five key areas. Employment grades the number of Black people in management positions (and within various staff roles) at hotels and at travel marketing agencies; other categories, including conferences and trade shows, marketing campaigns, and press, examine the representation of Black people on speaker panels, in print and digital media, on television, and on press trips. The last area, philanthropy, will evaluate organizations based on their support for community groups and charities.


Inspired by UOMA Beauty founder Sharon Chuter's #PullUpOrShutUp campaign, the Alliance is launching #PullUpForTravel, asking travel brands to post their Travel Scorecard results on their social channels to demonstrate their commitment to action. They are calling for brands to share their metrics by this Friday, or Juneteenth, an annual holiday commemorating the emancipation of the last remaining slaves in the United States.

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