History of black travel

The History Of Black Travel has been created by the Black Travel Alliance’s Research Committee in partnership with Tourism RESET. It provides insight on the early Black travel explorers and groundbreakers, major migration movements, and leisure travel developments of those from the African Diaspora. It also includes major judicial and legislative events as well as cultural events that have inspired Black travel. Included in the initial launch of the History Of Black Travel timeline are 130+ entries from the Americas, focusing mostly on the United States. The plan is to continue building out the timeline to add Black leisure travel stories from all continents and countries across the globe.



Black people have been traveling the globe for exploration and leisure for centuries. Yet, most people are unfamiliar with the early explorers and groundbreakers. This is due to the lack of documentation and written records of these major milestone events. Consequently, most stories about Black people traveling to explore or for leisure were passed down primarily through word of mouth or oral histories for generations. Even with documented evidence, these stories were purposefully left out of history books and museums. Now is the time to educate the public about how the African Diaspora traveled to every inch of the Earth and how they progressively made, and are making their mark, within the travel industry. We aim to do this starting with the History Of Black Travel timeline by uncovering and amplifying these experiences.

Timeline Categories

The History Of Black Travel timeline entries are grouped into twelve main categories including:

  • Ally: A non-Black person or corporate entity that has significantly helped to inspire or progress Black travel.
  • Accommodations: Black-owned guest houses, motels, hotels, and resorts; often the first in a particular city, state, country.  Also, those that welcomed Black travelers during slavery, segregation, and the Jim Crow era.  
  • Explorers: A Black person, often the first or one of the first to achieve a major milestone within a previously unfamiliar area that required a massive undertaking.   
  • Government: Major court rulings, laws, programs, and initiatives by city/state/federal governments that have influenced Black travel.
  • GroundBreakers: Well-known figures (politicians, actors, authors, artists, influencers, etc.) that have traveled somewhere which then directly inspired Black travel.
  • Leisure: Ground-breaking developments by a Black person or company/organization that has significantly helped to inspire or progress Black leisure travel.  Often the first, or one of the first developments, this includes the development of things to do and experience on vacation including cultural activities, festivals, major events, outdoor activities, food and drink, wellness, etc. These have been organized in sub-categories for leisure including:
      • Culture: historic sites, museums and galleries, cultural and historic tours, ancestry/roots tourism, etc. 
      • Events: celebrations, major events,  festivals – culture, music, carnival, etc.  
      • Outdoors: beaches, birding, biking, camping, fishing, golfing, hiking, hunting, national parks, nature, water sports, winter sports, wildlife viewing, etc. 
      • Food & Drink: Black-owned food tours, wineries, distilleries, breweries, etc.  (not individual restaurants unless it is really historic)
      • Retail: shopping, farmers’ markets
      • Wellness:  medical / health tourism, spa, yoga retreats, detox resorts, etc. 
  • Migration: Mass movement of Black people voluntarily for education, jobs, and a better way of life that then led to an increase in leisure travel.
  • Organizations: Black travel industry associations, organizations, charities, community groups focused on advocacy, education, professional development, etc in the Black travel space.
  • Publishing: Travel guide books, travel fiction, travel journals, etc. that played a significant role in the progress of Black travel.   Also major market research studies that provide insight on the Black travel movement.  
  • Slavery: The enslavement of Black people and major acts of resistance.
  • Television:  Travel TV shows, presenters, and general programs that have inspired Black leisure travel.  
  • Transportation: Developments and major milestones by a Black person or company/organization specific to travel via airplane, automobile, buses, boats, cruises, trains, etc.

The History Of Black Travel timeline entries related to slavery, migration and the government are included to provide background and context for many of the Black leisure travel developments.

History of Back Travel timeline categories. 


Black Travel Alliance

The Black Travel Alliance is a professional non-profit organization [501(c)(3)], created in 2020 to encourage, educate, equip and excel black travel professionals in education, media, and corporate positions. Our three pillars of the community are alliance, amplification, and accountability. As travel authors, bloggers, broadcasters, journalists, photographers, podcasters, social media influencers, and vloggers, we unify to amplify. We also aim to provide training and business support to our members, as well as hold destinations and travel brands accountable on the issue of diversity in travel marketing and storytelling. Along with this historical research project, we recently partnered with MMGY Global on The Black Traveler study to gather insights on Black travelers from the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, and the United Kingdom. From the report released January 2021, we know that the spending power of Black travelers from these six countries is US$159.5 billion annually.  For more information, visit www.blacktravelalliance.org.

Tourism RESET

Tourism RESET is a multi-university and interdisciplinary research and outreach initiative that seeks to identify, study, and challenge patterns of social inequity in the tourism industry. Since its inception in 2010, Tourism RESET has advocated for anti-racism in travel, hospitality, and cultural tourism. Yet, Tourism RESET is also poised to address a broad swath of related struggles such as human trafficking in hospitality, animal welfare in tourism, accessibility, and the continuing power issues related to gender. Our partnerships include academic and industry partners in collaborating in various projects ranging from survey design, data analysis, in-depth interviews, focus groups, workshops, seminars, and grant writing. For more information, visit, www.tourismreset.




Tripadvisor, the world’s largest travel guidance platform*, helps hundreds of millions of people each month** become better travelers, from planning to booking to taking a trip. Travelers across the globe use the Tripadvisor site and app to discover where to stay, what to do and where to eat based on guidance from those who have been there before. With more than 988 million reviews and opinions of nearly 8 million businesses, travelers turn to Tripadvisor to find deals on accommodations, book experiences, reserve tables at delicious restaurants and discover great places nearby. As a travel guidance company available in 43 markets and 22 languages, Tripadvisor makes planning easy no matter the trip type. For more information about Tripadvisor’s Equity, Diversity + Inclusion stance, visit www.tripadvisor.com.

* Source: SimilarWeb, unique users de-duplicated monthly, September 2021. ** Source: Tripadvisor internal log files