The Travel Industry’s Reckoning With Race and Inclusion
“These road trips and initiatives that speak to people of color in general are important because we have been excluded from travel reports,” Ms. Braswell said. “If you are going to create experiences where people go in the world, everyone should be included in those experiences.”
Ms Braswell added that most of her business came from black travelers. These travelers, she said, seek out black travel counselors who know where they are hosted and can help them plan their trips. Over the past year, travelers of all racial backgrounds have increasingly requested tours and experiences that include black-owned businesses, she said.
Across the country, as people protested against police brutality, travelers demanded to see more travelers who looked like them in the ad; they spoke out against tourism boards that had not been inclusive in the past and formed organizations like the Black Travel Alliance, calling for the hiring of more black influencers, writers and photographers.
The Alliance and others have pushed for more black travelers to be visible and included in the industry and in leisure travel spaces.
At the same time, tour operators like Free Egunfemi Bangura, the founder of Untold RVA, a Richmond-based organization, offer tours that focus on black contributions. In a city like Richmond, which was once a capital of Confederation, she said that meant seeing the value of working outside the established system of preservation societies and museums that are typically run by white rulers.
For Ms. Bangura and other activists, artists and tour operators, museums and traditional preservation societies are part of the culture of exclusion that has historically excluded blacks and continues to present versions of history that focus on white narratives. . Ms. Bangura’s tours take place in the streets of the city in order to better understand the local history.
At a time when state legislatures demand and pass laws that limit what students learn about the contributions of blacks and other marginalized people to the country, Ms.Bangura and others said, tours that show their contributions are still more important.
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