After a frustratingly tough economic year, the incentive to travel is inspiring, particularly with the variety of deals offered by a wide range of destinations. Also encouraging are the many new and interactive resources for information––not just on location, but where to shop, dine, and push through some adventuresome limits.
According to an article by eTurboNews, a global travel industry trade publication, the minority market is spending roughly $90 billion a year in travel. African Americans account for $39 billion––44% of which is leisure, says Charlotte Haymore, the president of Travel Professionals of Color National Association. Such numbers beg for the opportunity to develop a business opportunity to target this market. Here are two new destination Websites that offer exciting news, images, stories, and in some cases real-time experiences.
Hi-Def Travel Surfing
While surfing the Internet one evening in 2006, avid traveler and entrepreneur, John Pasmore became inspired by a foreign travel site he felt could be a viable opportunity in the United States. He immediately contacted the company’s founder, who sent him a presentation. “When I watched the DVDs, which showed holidays and hotels that viewers could purchase,” he recalls, “I thought that would be a fantastic business here in the United States.” Pasmore, who had previously worked on several media projects, including the magazine series, Russell Simmons’ OneWorld Music Beat traveled to Germany to present his idea to the founder of the German company soon afterward and in June of this year launched Voyage.tv, a high-end travel portal that introduces visitors to feature-like video presentations in high definition on a variety of destination attractions and interests. They include reviews of restaurants, boutiques, spas, and activities with interviews by resident experts. These videos also feature hotel and resort profiles, allowing members to book reservations through the Website as well as ask travel-related questions and interact with other interested travelers.
Travel Site That’s in the Black
“If you’re a business traveler, what happens is that you often discover something that will bring you back as a tourist,” says author, filmmaker, and television producer Nelson George, who is currently the travel expert at-large for BlackAtlas.com, an interactive domain specifically tailored for black travel enthusiasts. Whether you travel for leisure or for business, the site which was created by American Airlines, but powered by its users promises a vibrant community of global trekkers that provide intimate and cultural information on every travel query from where to get the most welcoming dining reception to where to find a hairstylist. George, who can personally recommend a black beauty salon in Madrid, says the site will offer a broad range of interesting travel options for users. “It will provide a mix of tourist spots and places of interest to black people and people interested in African American culture,” says George. Through video, discussion boards, photos, and blogs, members will be able to share stories and experiences across social networks, ask questions, provide feedback, and ultimately build viable travel itineraries.
This article originally appeared in the December 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.