Photo Credit: Shawnta Harrison, Veranda Adkins, and Gai Spann | Co-founders of the Association of Black Travel Professionals
Meet The Women Behind The Association of Black Travel Professionals
Black travelers are often underestimated and undervalued. Study after study has shown that we have no problem dropping coins when it comes to experiences. And while the industry as a whole is waking up to these facts, a group of Black women has known the spending power of Black travelers for some time.
After working more than 30 combined years in the travel industry, Shawnta Harrison, Veranda Adkins, and Gai Spann co-founded the Association of Black Travel Professionals in December 2020.
“Through our motto excellence, expertise and culture, our aim is to raise the profile and talent base within the Black travel community through a customized training platform along with integrated networking opportunities which give exposure to all aspects of the travel industry,” Harrison told Travel Noire.
The co-founders want to elevate the profile and talent base within the Black travel community. They want to launch their own industry-accredited travel professional number called ABTP that’s similar to IATA and CLIA.
“Our ABTP number will be used as a way to quantify the sales of Black travel professionals in the industry,” said Harrison. “As of right now, there are no sources to measure the official sales of Black travel consumers. We want to be the organization that tracks and quantifies the sales of the Black travel consumer and professional.”
Harrison adds the organization will launch its first Awards Gala in November to recognize top travel professionals of color and highlight companies who succeed in diversity in the travel industry.
“When you go to these award galas and conferences, especially events surrounding the luxury travel market, very few travel professionals of color are included. We are going to be that organization where the travel industry can come to for help to identify those agents of color who are currently not being recognized.”
Harrison adds that even though the organization’s name is the Association of Black Travel Professionals, they are not discriminatory and open to all travel professionals no matter their skills or expertise.