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MMGY Global has released results from the second and final phase of The Black Traveler: Insights, Opportunities & Priorities research report. Phase I of the study previously revealed the enormous spending power of U.S. Black travelers, but the second phase — which surveyed 3,635 Black leisure travelers from the U.S., Canada, France, Germany and the U.K./Ireland — focused on questions of travel influence and decision-making.  

According to the study, representation in marketing and advertising collateral plays a key role in influencing Black travelers’ decisions: 54% of U.S. Black travelers (along with 42% from the U.K./Ireland, 40% from Canada, 27% from France and 15% from Germany) agreed that they are more likely to visit a destination if they see Black representation in its advertising. 

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Perception of safety was revealed as another highly influential factor, with 71% of U.S. and Canadian respondents indicating that safety was extremely or very influential to their decision (compared to 58% of U.K./Ireland respondents, 31% of French respondents and 21% of German respondents). 

Why It Matters
The study notes that Black travelers (especially those in the U.S., Canada and the U.K./Ireland) “are paying close attention to how destinations and travel service providers approach diversity,” indicating that these factors have an impact on their travel decisions. And, as the first phase of the report revealed, U.S. Black travelers spent $109.4 billion on domestic travel in 2019 (that figure jumps to $129.6 billion when international leisure travel is added in), representing a source of tremendous spending power. While their spend is expected to be lower in 2021, three-quarters of the Black travelers surveyed still intend to take an overnight leisure trip in 2021.  

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Fast Facts
- According to the report, the leading source of inspiration for Black travelers is the need for relaxation, followed by enthusiasm for visiting a new place and experiencing different cultures. Black travelers in all six countries indicated that they are most interested in cultural activities when visiting a destination, with other areas of interest including nature and wellness activities, visiting attractions and attending family events.

- On average, Black travelers intend to take 18% fewer trips and spend more than 50% less in 2021 compared to what they reported in 2019. 

- Respondents from the U.K./Ireland are more inclined to take an international overnight trip in 2021 than any other country, and American respondents indicated that they are more interested in staying closer to home, wanting to take at least two domestic overnight trips. 

America’s history of slavery followed by repressive Jim Crow laws, segregation, institutional racism and continuing police brutality has made U.S. Black travelers cautious.

What They Are Saying
“It is not surprising that Black representation in advertising and safety highly influence U.S. Black travelers more so than Black travelers from France and Germany, where awareness and discussions about racial issues are more muted,” said Ursula Petula Barzey, research committee chair for the Black Travel Alliance. “America’s history of slavery followed by repressive Jim Crow laws, segregation, institutional racism and continuing police brutality has made U.S. Black travelers cautious. It’s why Victor Hugo’s ‘The Negro Motorist Green Book’ published from 1936 to 1966, and now modern-day online communities where Black travelers gather are so important. We have an increasing desire for leisure travel and love it when destinations actively market to us but want to make sure that the experience will be a positive one.”

“The findings of this report, along with the sustained calls by Black travelers for diversity and equality, should be an impetus for the travel industry to make a long-needed change,” added Clayton Reid, CEO of MMGY Global. “Companies should be prepared to demonstrate their moral and ethical commitment to ensuring Black travelers are given the service and hospitality that they so rightly deserve.” 

The Details
MMGY Global