Brianna Lopez brought up this interesting topic on the Travel Massive Community Lounge; and another member of the community, Tori Rogers, also gave her perspective to it. I added mine as well. Thought to share with you. Let me know what you think 🙂
Brianna: I’ve been writing a lot lately. Digging into numbers, and research, and in doing so I am discovering that the travel industry as a market caters deeply to certain groups or types of people. There is still a huge lack in many departments especially for people of color and travelers seeking travel experiences around personal growth and healing. All the major websites, blogs, events, conferences etc… truly under represent these two groups as if amazing storytelling, images, ideas, itineraries don’t come from these people. So much so that people of color felt the need to create their own platform in the travel market separate from what most of us read in to today.
What I am looking for in order to break into that field of sharing info about these two groups, is more websites, events, articles etc… from people who feel like the resonate with these groups. We need more data to help close the gaps that this industry has created.
Tori: I 100% agree with you about the travel industry continuing to cater to certain types of people. As a black expat living in Bangkok – I see it happening all the time here in Thailand and other Asian countries. There’s still such a large gap and a long way to go. And of course, a large part of it is education which is why I see travel as opportunity for people of color to go and not only explore and learn more about other cultures but for us to educate others, for us to expand what is happening in the travel industry, etc.
It’s also really interesting that you pointed out how people of color resort to creating their own platforms in the travel industry. It’s exactly what you see happening with Travel Noire, Nomadness, etc. When I moved to Bangkok 2 years ago, I launched a meetup group so that I could connect with other people of color living in Bangkok. Now, it has grown and connected 100s of travelers and expats and I launched Ebony Expats. It’s easier for us to create our own platforms vs getting the travel market to be more inclusive. But, as you’ve mentioned – we need more data and content to help close these gaps. I’m in the process of creating content and resources that will help tell the story of POC travelers. I’d love to connect and collaborate!
Sam: As a black travel professional based in Nigeria, we obviously don’t experience these issues. However, I have a different perspective. At what point do we move from being reactionary about how the travel industry doesn’t cater to POC? I’d rather we approach these issues on its own merit. Why can’t we take the lead and be proactive as thought leaders, innovators and getting our foot in the door?
The more we keep creating separate communities of POC to address these issues, the wider the gap gets. I’d rather we build and strengthen communities of travelers globally and glocally – irrespective of colour, race, gender, faith, etc – and then communicate the individual struggles we have within these communities. We can’t operate in silos and hope to get sustainable traction.
See, I know the struggle is real, and you might think I don’t really get it. However, I just hope we take the lead in moving beyond this ‘POC tag’ someday. We need to drop it. I don’t want to be called a POC. It’s not cute. I don’t like it. Let’s drop it. No one will – if we don’t!