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New Mission: Promote Travel to African Americans

Promoting travel to African Americans

In the past week, Carol Anderson, owner of Beyond All Borders LLC USA, returned from a mission to East Africa to promote “The East Africa Road Show 2023” to the USA.

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  1. Her visit took her to Tanzania where she was a guest speaker at the just concluded Kilifair ending in Uganda.
  2. She gave a presentation on October 5, 2021, to members of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO).
  3. The theme was “Investment marketing opportunities in the lucrative African American demographics: Invest your $GREEN$ ON BLACK.”

Her journey begins over two decades ago when she was approached by Bahamian and Jamaican industry officials at an international travel show held in Atlanta to find a way to stimulate travel for people of color as well as disseminate travel information to them having realized that the majority of attendees at the expo were non-minorities. Troubled by this disparity, she then added a productions, special events, entertainment, and promotions division to her operations in pursuit of her calling.

The meeting with Ugandan operators was held in a virtual setting with physical attendance restricted to staff at the AUTO Secretariat in Kampala hosted by Public Relations Officer Nancy Okwong and eTurboNews writer Tony Ofungi, convener of the meeting and owner of Maleng Travel.

Said Carol: “The goal of Beyond All Borders, LLC is to plan the first East Africa Roadshow, inviting tour operators, travel planners, tourist boards, safari companies, and other travel-related participants to travel to the USA, where they will exhibit to African American travel planners and professional as well as other planners to gain upfront and personal information to consider selling Africa to their clients.

“This is an aid to develop ways to target the affluent African American market through product knowledge of Africa. My suggestion is to organize ‘The East Africa Road Show.’  

“The main thing I would like known is that the African American market is rarely marketed to. Tourism promotional dollars are seldom spent in our demographic to solicit travel to African countries. Recent surveys have shown, African Americans know very little about Africa and have been led to believe we are not welcomed there.”

Profiling the African American niche, Carol added that due to the lack of marketing and promotional efforts towards the African American community, the majority still lacks basic knowledge about Africa in general. African Americans lead demographics in terms of consumer spending which exceeds US$1 trillion annually. It is a proven fact regarding travel, once the more African Americans know about a destination, they will spend the dollars and travel.

The East African Road Show 2023 shall last a period of 2 weeks covering the proposed US states including Washington, D.C.; Dallas, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; and Los Angeles, California during the April, winter, and spring breaks.

The delegation is expected to engage in B2B (Business to Business) meetings with local agencies targeting but not limited to promoting the African American market with the possibility of a B2C (Business to Consumer) public day.

Several tour operators expressed interest in participating given the timely notice. Martin Ngabirano of Chigo Tours asked to know the requirements and cost implications for planning purposes. Carol   estimated the cost at US$5,000 and pledged to seek discounts from Ethiopian and United Airlines and participating hotels to subsidize the costs. Companies interested in participating were requested to register through the AUTO Secretariat.

After the meeting, Carol was hosted by Bonifence Byamukama, Vice Chairman of the Uganda Hotel Owners Association and past AUTO Chairman and of the East Africa Tourism platform, at a Kampala restaurant to a hearty African meal of tilapia steamed in foil, garnished with potatoes, before she was received by the Deputy CEO of the Uganda Tourism Board, Bradford Ochieng, at Board headquarters in Kampala where he pledged support for her mission before handing her generous gifts of brochures, videos, Uganda Gorilla Coffee, and Uganda Waragi Gin in hamper bags made from bark cloth and “kitenge” material.  

In 2019, Ghana launched the “Year of Return” to mark 400 years of the arrival of the first enslaved Africans which succeeded in attracting Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and the late civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis to Ghana.

The “Black Lives Matter” movement has since reignited interest of the African American community in Africa with more and more wishing to return to the continent as tourists, investors, or even for good.

Prior to that, in 2007, “The African Diaspora trail” was launched at the 4th IIPT African Conference on Peace through Tourism in Kampala, Uganda, with the launch of the “Uganda Martyr’s Trail” as a legacy of the conference.

Carol was able to get a taste of the Uganda Martyr’s Trail at Namugongo Martyrs Museum and shrine where she was able to immerse herself 2 centuries back to the atrocious tale of the genesis of Christianity in Uganda in collision with the once all-powerful Kingdom of Buganda, broadening the scope of a history known to the African American beyond slavery.

She was also able to visit the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, habitat to the endangered mountain gorillas, and experience the disappearing culture of the hunter-gatherer Batwa Tribe; Queen Elizabeth National Park, where she experienced a safari and a launch trip on the Kazinga Channel; and Kibale Forest National Park, famed for primates.

Her mission to Uganda was made possible thanks to Mihingo Lodge, Karay Apartments, Mahogany Springs Lodge, Wilderness Lodge Ishasha, Katara Lodge, Kyaninga Lodge, Servaline Tours and Travel, and Maleng Travel.

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Tony Ofungi - eTN Uganda

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