Black leisure travelers in the United States spent $109.4 billion – representing 12.5% of total U.S. leisure travel spend - on travel in 2019, a new report from MMGY Global finds.
The study, called the Black Traveler: Insights, Opportunities and Priorities, was created by MMGY Travel Intelligence on behalf of Black traveler advocacy organizations to identify the needs, behaviors and sentiment of the Black travel community.
The report reveals that the $109.4 billion spend figure was generated by 458.2 Black U.S. traveler stays in 2019, which represent 13.1% of the U.S. leisure travel market.
It also finds that last year, Black leisure travelers took an average of three overnight vacations and spent an average of 13.1 nights in paid accommodations.
According to the study, Black travelers stay an average 2.5 nights on overnight leisure trips, and Black travel parties spent an average of $600 on each overnight leisure stay in 2019.
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“We have long suspected the amount that U.S. Black travelers spend on leisure travel was undervalued. So it is great to get confirmation through these two reports as a part of the Black Traveler study,” says Martinique Lewis, president of Black Travel Alliance, which partnered with MMGY on the report.
“These findings of the U.S. market, as well as additional data from the international report to be published in January, will become our calling card to destination management organizations and travel brands as we work to increase Black representation at all levels of the travel industry.”
Indeed, Black consumers have said they feel “shut out” of the travel market, despite their significant level of spend.
Travel brands that don’t represent Black travelers in their marketing materials contributes to the feeling of exclusion.
Speaking with PhocusWire earlier this year, Eulanda Osagiede, co-founder of travel blog Hey! Dip Your Toes In, said: "The travel industry is rife with whiteness. It's all over the place. You Google 'traveler' … and the first three, four pages of images on Google are going to show the heteronormative look of whiteness.
“Travel brands have a lot to catch up on in terms of reflecting the world that's actually around us.”