+ T O U R I S M
Travel to Black Destinations
Byron A. Nicholas, AICP - June 2, 2018
One of the greatest opportunities afforded to mankind is the ability to travel and experience different places and people throughout the world. When it comes to tourism, Black spaces are not treated the same as white Spaces. A vast majority of predominately Black destinationas are known to exhibit Heaven on Earth comfort levels. However, there are some uniquely Black destinations that are often overlooked by tourists due to stereotypes and perceived danger. For one, negative prejudices looms around Black communities and spaces which, in effect, contribute to avoidance and neglect by tour companies. Depending on the context, tourists either do not get the full experience of Black spaces or in some cases in the Caribbean, tourists via cruise companies are able to take economic advantage of local businesses.
For example, the Caribbean hosts the largest market for the cruise ship tourism industry. large million dollar cruise ship companies tour the Caribbean isles where the cruise ships raise social impact concerns and economically disadvantage many local businesses and public infrastructure. According to The Impact of the Cruising Industry on Local Destination there are three major concerns about cruise tourism in the Caribbean:
1. Local merchants and tour operators earn considerably less than the cruise liners for the products they provide
2. Improper usage of infrastructure – sewage and water systems, roads and paths and;
3. People pollution that may have adverse social impacts.
Thoroughly Research Your Destination
If you travel by plane to your destination, tourists are often warned and deterred from exploring certain neighborhoods. No matter how unique the place may be, most tourists will not want to travel to a particular community if they perceive it to be unsafe and dangerous. I mean, can we really blame the tourists? Safety comes first, however, always remember that perceived crime is different from actual crime. This is why it is very important to do research on your destination before traveling and booking accommodations.
Find a Local Tour Guide
It is highly recommended to find a legitimate local tour guide from the country's tourism website or travel agency to explore neighborhoods tucked away from most visitors. This way, you would build a trustful relationship with the tour guide and boost the local economy by spending money on food, activities and transportation the locals have to offer.
Some tour companies have the right idea. A more local example takes a look at a bus touring company. Gray Line New York’s Sightseeing offers uptown loop tours to Harlem, a predominately Black neighborhood in uptown Manhattan. Tour buses allow passengers to view this historic black neighborhood with stops to many notable sites in Harlem which, in effect, maximizes tourist to local business transactions and social interactions.