When Stephanie Jones, founder and CEO of Cultural Heritage Economic Alliance, Inc. (CHEA), invited me to speak at the Power of Partnership Stewardship Summit in Richmond, Virginia (Oct. 15-18), I was thrilled! The summit is bringing leaders together to envision a collaborative, cross-sectoral, and inclusive future for travel and tourism. I’ll be speaking on regenerative tourism and its impact on communities.
In addition to CHEA, the summit is sponsored by Tourism Cares, The Travel Foundation, and the U.S. Cultural & Heritage Marketing Council.
Ms. Jones and I have known each other for more than a decade, and I have born witness to her meteoric rise as one of the most outspoken champions of diversifying the tourism industry. Many years ago, when she was first starting her tourism business in Miami, Florida, I trained her tour guides in how to do a walking tour of Little Havana that recognized the contributions of Afro-Cubans and others of African descent to not only Little Havana but to Cuba. Since those early years, Ms. Jones not only founded CHEA but also founded Blacks in Travel & Tourism, a CHEA initiative.
Previously, I spoke at the Synergy Summit for Cultural and Heritage Tourism she organized in 2018, held in Miami.
One of the many things that makes the 2023 summit gathering particularly special is the participation of numerous BIPOC suppliers. If you’ve been to other tourism industry gatherings, you’ll notice that they tend not to be racially diverse, even if they are focusing on responsible tourism. I applaud Stephanie Jones for her work to bring greater equity and inclusion to the industry, and I’m grateful for her invitation to participate.