The fast growing “Buy Black” movement that is emerging out of the efforts of several influential Black leaders to generate sustained economic development in the Black community has given birth to The Black Traveler, LLC, a new travel platform designed to organize and develop the Black tourism industry in the US, Canada and around the globe.
Spearheaded by Solomon and Gloria Herbert, long-time owners of Los Angeles-based Black Meetings & Tourism and other travel industry veterans, The Black Traveler, LLC will create a multi-sided travel platform for Black travelers, travel agents and travel and hospitality vendors. A new website, BlackTraveler.net will be launched in early September – and have its debut at the Annual legislative Conference of the Congressional Black Congress in Washington.
“We are going to put the lessons we’ve learned from other sharing-economy businesses such as Uber and AirBnB to use within the Black community. BlackTraveler.net will facilitate direct contact between Black travelers who want to enjoy travel that is specific to their own unique needs with Black-owned travel businesses who have a far greater sensitivity to those needs”, says Mr. Herbert. “Travel is not a one-size-fits-all business, so our new platform will enable Black travelers to book directly or to request the assistance of a Black travel agent for more complicated travel,” according to his wife and partner of over 30 years, Gloria Herbert.
The new website, BlackTraveler.net is being built on an Internet-based travel platform developed by Vancouver-based Visits & Trips Network. The platform will enable BlackTraveler.net to take advantage of social media, crowdsourcing and social-sharing features so the new website can roll-out quickly across North America.
The new effort has a lot of support in the Black Community. Dr. Jamal Bryant, leader of the 12,000-member Empowerment Temple in Baltimore, and a leader of the Buy Black Movement helped inspire the launch of BlackTraveler.net. “African-Americans make up over 13% of the population – almost 40 million people. Getting the Black travel industry organized and focused to serve the special needs of this community is a key element in creating new economic activity at the ground level, so we are 100% behind BlackTraveler.net”, he says.
Carolyn White, president of TPOC (Travel Professionals of Color) an organization that represents over 350 Black travel agents is also pleased with The Black Traveler program. “The new platform will enable our members to provide our travel expertise to members in our community, but it will also enable us to identify and contact Black owned travel and hospitality businesses so we can tailor-make travel arrangements for each and every traveler. It’s a great – and long overdue innovation,” she says.
Another supporter is Andy Ingram, president of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners (NABHOOD). “I couldn’t be happier about the development of BlackTraveler.net. This platform will enable us to put our member hotels front and center before a huge number of customers in ways that just were not possible before, and it gives us a chance to connect with Black travel agents so we can deliver the type packages and specials they want for their clients. So a big WIN, WIN, WIN for all.”