New Study Reveals the Spending Power of Black U.S. Travelers

The report, called “The Black Traveler: Insights, Opportunities and Priorities,” was created to identify the needs of the Black travel community.

New Study Reveals the Spending Power of Black U.S. Travelers

Black leisure travelers in the United States spent $109.4 billion on travel in 2019, according to a new report from MMGY Global.

Photo by astarot/Shutterstock

A new study released from MMGY Global reveals the significant contributions Black travelers make to the United States’ tourism economy. The report, titled “The Black Traveler: Insights, Opportunities & Priorities,” was created by MMGY Travel Intelligence on behalf of Black travel advocacy organizations, including the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals (NCBMP), the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers (NABHOOD), and the Black Travel Alliance (BTA). According to the global marketing firm, the research initiative intends to facilitate a much-needed shift toward understanding the behaviors and needs of Black travelers.

The first phase of the report, released mid-November, analyzes the MMGY’s 2019 Shifflet Travel Performance/Monitor (which surveyed 4,800 Black U.S. leisure travelers) as well as a 2020 survey of 200 members of the NCBMP. According to the findings, Black Americans spent an estimated $109.4 billion on leisure travel in 2019, representing roughly 13.1 percent of the U.S. leisure travel market. (Black Americans spent an estimated $63 billion on leisure travel in 2018, according to a study by Mandala Research.) The findings show that in 2019, Black U.S. leisure travelers took an average of three overnight vacations with an average stay of 2.5 nights for each trip. They also reveal that the surveyed travel parties typically spent about $600 on each overnight stay.

The report also looked at travel spendings for Black professionals, and it showed equally significant numbers. NCBMP’s members plan an average of 7.5 business meetings per year and typically spend an average of over $900,000 annually on those meetings. Still, the study indicates that Black meeting professionals “encounter hardships when organizing events for Black groups.” Roughly 42 percent of meeting organizers said that attendees have felt unwelcome in past destinations. (Notably, 77 percent of the Black American meeting professionals surveyed said they looked for representation in a destination’s marketing materials as a key indicator of receptivity.)

“It is vital for travel industry executives to better understand the needs, behaviors and concerns of underrepresented traveler communities,” MMGY Global CEO Clayton Reid said in a press release. “The findings from the report should be a call to action for travel professionals and are an important step in both underscoring the value of Black travelers and identifying solutions to better serve this important travel audience.”

“The Black Traveler: Insights, Opportunities & Priorities” report feels particularly relevant following a year when conversations around race, and specifically around justice for Black Americans, have remained at the national forefront.

The second phase of MMGY’s report, set to be released in January 2021, will analyze “current opinions and attitudes of Black leisure travelers globally.” According to a press release, the report “aims to uncover the barriers and experiences that Black leisure travelers encounter across international markets including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland, France, and Germany.”

On December 10, the award-winning Nomadness Travel Tribe (founded by 2018 AFAR Travel Vanguard honoree Evita Robinson) will further the conversation with its Nomadness Diversity in Travel Consensus. The findings of this survey gather data from 5,299 travelers of color—not just Black Americans—in the United States and beyond.

>> Next: Amplifying Black Voices in Travel

From Our Partners
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
More from AFAR