Bahamas Tourism Targets African American Market

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Hundreds of African American travel industry insiders swarming to The Bahamas for an April conference may be the first glimpse of a Tourism strategy targeting billions of dollars coming from that travel market.

It's a move President of the Travel Professionals of Color (TPOC) association sees as a good one for the country, given high interest displayed from that group in The Bahamas and its connection to black history.

"There's billions of dollars being spent by the minority traveler going outside of the U.S.," Charlotte Haymore told Guardian Business. "And Americans really enjoy coming to the Caribbean because they feel they can connect to the people and the culture is something they want to become entrenched in."

However, she readily admits that The Bahamas has been slow to capitalize on that interest in the past.

"It appears that there hasn't been a big push in the past from The Bahamas perspective to market to the African-American population," said Haymore. "But they are now finding that the African-American population actually wants to visit The Bahamas.

"They want to visit heritage trails and sites and they do spend money for tourism and for some reason that's just becoming evident to Tourism areas all over the Caribbean."

The organizer is hopeful the eighth annual conference - hosted in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism - will go a long way in educating all parties on how best to market the destination.

In particular, Haymore and her 300-plus group of travel professionals are interested in looking at Provident, one of Nassau's authenticated heritage sites. In the past, she said other cites that have been promoted by the TPOC group have noted significant boost in foot traffic anywhere from a year on afterward.

The conference will take place at the Sheraton from April 22 to 25 and is expected to bring industry professionals ranging from tour operators to meeting planners to Bahama shores.

Source: The Nassau Guardian