When Blacks In Travel & Tourism founder Stephanie Jones originally created the organization in March 2020, her goal was to address the lack of representation in meetings discussing recovering from the pandemic. Two years later, BTT has evolved into a global conglomerate facilitating the advancement of Blacks in the travel and tourism industry. 

A resource for the entire global travel and tourism industry, BTT is shifting the playing field for Black travel professionals and equipping them with the tools needed to thrive in an ever-changing space. With multiple strategic partnerships with industry organizations such as Brand USA, US Travel Association, and Northstar Travel Group as well as strong relationships with various trade associations and destination marketing organizations, Jones is positioning BTT as a thought leader in the industry.

“BTT has introduced several innovative programs and initiatives such as the Diversity Tourism Academy, Black Tourism Talent Directory, DEI Deep Dive Masterclass, and The Black Cultural Heritage Tours Collection,” Jones said. “These programs are designed to level the playing field for Blacks in travel and tourism as well as to sustain diversity, equity, and inclusion in the industry.”

As a collaborative, BTT has alliances with 13 Black travel and tourism-related organizations. They have access to over 500,000 travelers and currently have more than 1,300 minority suppliers through their global network. With such a massive reach, BTT is making a major impact on Black travelers and travel professionals by sustaining diversity in the industry both in the US and abroad. 

Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Jones.

“It is essential for Blacks in travel and tourism to work collaboratively to build an ecosystem that can help create new and sustain existing businesses and professional careers that better position members to thrive and access equitable opportunities in the travel and tourism industry,” she said. “There is power in numbers, and members can leverage the collaborative to help move their individual efforts forward, as well as partner to access broader opportunities.”

The wealth of knowledge shared throughout BTT and its affiliated partners are equipping more travel professionals to create safe travel opportunities for Black travelers. A cadre of esteemed individuals, BTT’s guidance helps craft travel in a way that is friendly to travelers of color. 

“It is very valuable to have access to a reliable source of black travel professionals who can share their authentic stories and experiences traveling abroad,” she said. “Black travel groups such as Nomadness Travel Tribe, Black Travel Movement, Black Folks Travel Too! and others offer real-time resources and feedback about how to and where to stay safe while traveling. In addition, Black travel advisors who are experienced, certified, very knowledgeable about destinations, and can offer travel insights they only have access to help to ensure a safe way to travel and experience the world.”

Additionally, BTT is implementing initiatives and creating programs that level the playing field for Blacks in travel. By providing them with access to job opportunities, media exposure, and consulting, BTT is making the travel industry a more diverse space and funneling more funds into the homes of Black entrepreneurs. 

“We are leveling the field for microlocal Black businesses to access consistent tourists’ foot traffic and revenue to help sustain and scale their businesses,” she said.

With all they’ve accomplished thus far, BTT is moving forward with a consistent game plan as a connection broker between Black tourists and travel professionals. They are working with select organizations to form the Blacks in Travel & Tourism Leadership Council and launch a national advocacy program to ensure Blacks in travel and tourism have representation to advance Black businesses and professionals by creating equitable opportunities on a federal level.

The organization plans to continue building relationships with Black travel and tourism organizations and bridging the gap between people of color and the travel industry.