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Governor Hochul Announces “The I Love New York Black Travel Initiative”

Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced a New York State “I Love New York Black Travel Initiative” to encourage Black travelers to explore New York State’s Black travel destinations, events, and cultural attractions.

The Governor expressed her excitement about the launching of this initiative. For the first time, New York will market, promote, and celebrate the unparalleled Black history and culture throughout the State. The initiative will highlight the attractions and museums that bring Black history and activism to life, including such topics as abolition, the Underground Railroad, the Civil Rights Movement, Black Lives Matter, and the many significant movements that made history in New York. Incidentally, Pat Stevenson, the publisher of HCN, told me of her recent visit to Underground Railroad sites in Niagara Falls.
The Governor also mentioned an interesting story where Black porters working at a local hotel spent their nights helping African slaves cross the turbulent waters of the Niagara River at Niagara Falls. These slaves reached freedom in Canada. A short marketing video teaser was shown; it will be part of a complete State marketing plan to encourage Black travelers to visit New York.
I wrote a story about the billion-dollar Black Traveler Industry a few months ago. In 2019 a study by Mandala Research [} concluded that Black American travelers spent $63 billion on travel. This was a rapid growth pattern since the last survey in 2010, where Black travelers spent $20 billion. In 2001, the United States Travel Association {USTA} identified the Black travel market as the fastest-growing segment in the travel industry.
Black cultural travelers are the highest spenders, with an average per trip spending of $2,078 compared to an average of $1,345 per trip spending for all other Black travelers. Family reunions, business, and leisure are other popular travel options for Black travelers. Black baby boomers are another growing segment of Black travelers; they have the time and the money to travel.
I believe the “I Love New York Black Traveler Initiative” can be very helpful in the post-COVID rebuilding of the Harlem Tourism and Hospitality Industry. According to data collected by NYC & Company, the official tour and travel marketing arm for New York City, Harlem is one of the top three requested New York City tourist attractions. Clearly, tourists want to visit Harlem!
The projected Spring 2023 opening of the Marriott Harlem Renaissance Hotel on 125th street next to the Apollo Theater will increase the number of tourists visiting and spending money in Harlem. The tourism industry is a wonderful economic development tool, creating jobs, careers, and business opportunities.
The Harlem Tourism Board is redesigning the website into a robust one-stop shop marketing guide to the Harlem Tour and Hospitality Industry. The website will serve as an economic and cultural development tool for the Greater Harlem area.
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