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Research on black travellers in the UK underway

Study aims to identify factors that influence BAME tourism experiences

Published:Saturday | July 17, 2021 | 12:06 AMGeorge Ruddock/Gleaner Writer
This woman relaxes on a swing at Campbelton Mountain Adventures.
This woman relaxes on a swing at Campbelton Mountain Adventures.
Tourism officials welcome a traveller at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St James.
Tourism officials welcome a traveller at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St James.

For the first time, a survey which aims to give insights into travel patterns and influences of United Kingdom (UK) black travellers has been launched by Women in Travel and the University of Surrey’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

The research project, which is being supported by Black Travel Creators, is expected to unearth much-needed information on factors influencing the decision-making of UK black travellers through person-to-person surveys, focus groups and in-depth interviews.

Speaking about the groundbreaking initiative, Women in Travel’s Executive Director Jamie-Lee Abtar said: "The UK travel market has traditionally been treated as a homogenous group, with little allowance for cultural, ethnic and other differences.

“Additionally, stereotypical beliefs about black and other ethnic minority communities travelling to familiar destinations, or rarely exploring new places, have to date resulted in little interest in these groups from the travel and tourism sector."

According to Abtar, “There is a growing black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) middle class in the UK who are mostly young, tech-savvy, and keen explorers of new destinations and tourism experiences. There are huge opportunities for travel brands, destinations and tourism marketers to target this group of travellers.”

“By collating reliable data on UK black and other BAME travellers, I hope that in turn we can inform the wider travel industry, and change and correct perceptions whilst empowering BAME travellers at the same time," she said.

Professor lis Tussyadiah, acting head of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Surrey, said the data is also important for addressing issues surrounding racial inequity and business marketing.

“The School of Hospitality and Tourism Management is dedicated to addressing racial inequality as a societal, moral, and business issue, and we are proud to be working with Women in Travel on this project,” she said.

The survey is now live and Women in Travel is urging people from BAME communities in the UK to participate online via:

Women in Travel started as a gender-focused platform at World Travel Market's flagship event in London in 2014. In 2017, it was incorporated as a social enterprise dedicated to empowering women through employability and entrepreneurship in travel, tourism and hospitality.

It also runs entrepreneurship-focused events, mentoring and networking, supporting start-ups and early-stage female entrepreneurs and those wanting to start a business, particularly of BAME background.

Meanwhile, the University of Surrey School of Hospitality and Tourism Management has been a pioneer in researching and teaching hospitality, tourism and events management for over 60 years. It is the first UK university to receive the Tourism Society Award, in recognition of its commitment to excellence in the tourism industry, and the first UK institution to receive the UNWTO TedQual certification for its undergraduate and postgraduate courses.