Resources That Support Racial Inclusivity in Travel
Travel bloggers, books and organizations creating long overdue change and inclusivity in the travel industry.
Photo of TrovaTrip Traveler Alice J. in Zion with Nicole Meija. Taken by Chanda Dawson.
The travel industry is known as a place to make memories and have fun—it’s full of exotic locations, talented tour Operators and endless sightseeing. But traveling as a person of color comes with even more moving pieces to navigate. And despite efforts by many to make the world a better, safer place to travel, racism affects people of color in all parts of the industry, from Travelers to travel agents to tour operators.
So, how do we address the fact that the travel industry is historically skewed white? And how can we change that? We can start by acknowledging that racism and bias exist in the travel industry. Then, move forward on this learning journey together and push for what needs to change in order to make things better, safer and more inclusive by providing not only equal access, but resources for people who may have been marginalized or excluded.
Thankfully, there are incredible people and organizations that provide resources to help travelers of color explore the world in a safe and exciting way.
Black Travel Bloggers and Influencers
Some of our top resources for Travelers of color come directly from working with and following some of our favorite Black travel influencers and bloggers. As travel creators, they have often been all around the world and openly share their experiences in various destinations while providing tips for travel. Some bloggers with great words of wisdom who we are honored to partner with include:
Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon (@JetSetSarah) - A travel writer, editor and on-screen host, who specializes in the Caribbean and contributes content to print and digital outlets including Condé Nast Traveler, Afar and Travel + Leisure magazine, where she is a special correspondent. She calls herself a “Carivangelist” because it’s her mission to spread the “gospel” of the Caribbean – that the islands are culturally rich and diverse and so much more than just sandy beaches and swaying palms.
In a recent essay for Travel + Leisure, Sarah wrote about the colonialist roots of modern Caribbean, its lingering effects on Caribbean tourism even today, and suggested ways travelers can honor the region’s difficult past and celebrate the people who call it home. “I want you to go the Caribbean but I want you to go with your eyes open and an awareness of our heritage,” she says. “Because to ignore that heritage is to do the islands, their people and yourself a disservice.” You can learn more about Sarah and read her latest work here.
Tobias Young, aka Ty (SimplyFoodByTy) - A singer/actor/chef turned social media influencer with a mission to make travel more inclusive for Travelers of all body types, sexual orientations and ethnicities. Ty encourages fellow Black Travelers to do their own research before taking a trip so they have the knowledge they need to travel safely. He encourages Travelers to “follow travel bloggers of color on social media and see what tips and tricks they have to offer,” and we couldn’t agree more.
Travel-gurus often have years of experience and helpful information for sharing. Read more about Ty and his thoughts on travel in this interview. And get connected with him on Instagram here: @simplytobiasyoung.
Jessica Ufuoma (@theufuoma) - Jessica, who was born in Nigeria and now lives in Canada, is known for her destination-based guides and useful planning resources. She’s already visited 40 countries. “One thing unites all: a yearning to live a full life,” she says. “No matter where we are from, what we do and the color of our skin, we all want more – more out of life, more out of people, a strong sense of connection, a feeling of oneness and fulfillment.”
Cedric Wood (@cedtripping) – Cedric is a travel expert who grew up in a small town in South Carolina called Timmonsville. “I never thought that I would become an avid world traveler. Needless to say, this country boy who once only road-tripped from city to city, has visited over 50 countries and the list grows by the month,” he says. “I am now committed to creating content that inspires you to travel the world to experience the joy of learning about other cultures.”
Cedric is also the founder of the Cedric B. Wood Scholarship, @cbwscholarship. A scholarship that upholds the mission of providing opportunities for students from Timmonsville High School to earn both a college education and a passport. You can learn more about Cedric, his travels and his life-changing scholarship here: cedtripping.com
Organizations & Publications
Black Travel Alliance (BTA) is a group of Black travel content creators from around the world comprised of travel authors, bloggers, broadcasters, journalists, photographers, podcasters, social media influencers and vloggers founded by Martinique Lewis, an award-winning diversity in travel consultant.
With their 3 pillars, alliance, amplification and accountability, the BTA provides training and business support to members. They also hold destinations and travel brands accountable when it comes to diversity in travel marketing and storytelling.
Their mission is to create a world where Black people are appropriately supported and represented in the travel industry. They’re currently launching an initiative called Black Travel Scorecard, which evaluates destination management organizations and travel brands on what they say and do. They’re evaluating groups in 5 major areas: employment, conferences and tradeshows, advertising and marketing, press and philanthropy.
ABC Travel Green Book (left) and author Martinique Lewis (right).
ABC Travel Green Book
Also by BTA’s president Martinique Lewis, the ABC Travel Green Book, inspired by Victor Hugo Green’s legendary Green Book which helped guide Black travelers to safe places to stay, dine and much more. Lewis’ book is a resource for Black Travelers and is also “for any Traveler who wants to connect with the African Diaspora wherever they go, or anybody who wants to amplify Black voices and share Black stories.”
“This guidebook is the ultimate resource for Black Travelers and their allies,” - Travel & Leisure
With her book, Lewis shines the spotlight on Black-owned businesses and events across the world that have been around for years but aren’t always included in the mainstream travel narrative. Pick up your copy here.
United Voice in Travel & Hospitality, or UViTH, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting diversity, inclusion, equity and advancement for Black travel and hospitality professionals. Their mission is to provide opportunities for Black professionals to advance and succeed.
UViTH is building a community with a unified purpose and passion to change the future of travel and hospitality through initiatives that promote diversity and inclusion. Their members work around the world as travel agents, agency owners, hoteliers, sales and marketing professionals, food and beverage specialists, tour guides and more. Their meetings, events, programs, and seminars provide these individuals with the opportunity to network with professionals from diverse backgrounds.
Change starts with each of us
Yes, the travel industry is amazing and life-giving. But it has a long journey to be more inclusive to Travelers of color. We can all do our part to erase bias and racism from every corner of the industry. It starts with each of us. We hope you’ll bookmark this article and use these resources to help you along the way. Together we can make a better tomorrow for all Travelers.