TORONTO — Hurtigruten Group is investing heavily in Inclusivity with the creation of a new board comprised of six leading Black travel professionals.
The Black Traveler Advisory Board (BTAB) will focus on increasing inclusivity of the Black traveller in expedition cruising, and represents just one of Hurtigruten Group’s many Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives aimed at improving the visibility of Black travellers and travel professionals within the cruise industry.
Created and spearheaded by Anders Lindström, Hurtigruten Group’s Head of PR and Communications for the Americas, BTAB includes entrepreneurs, travel advisors, heads of tourism organizations and community influencers who are all tapped into the industry’s latest trends and needs of the Black traveller. They include:
- Stephanie M. Jones, MBA, Chair of the BTAB, Founder and CEO of the Cultural Heritage Economic Alliance, Inc. (CHEA), Founder of Black Cultural Heritage Tours and the National Blacks in Travel & Tourism Collaborative
- Kareem George, Founder and Principal of Culture Traveler, National Director At-Large or the American Society of Travel advisors
- Naledi Khabo, CEO of Africa Tourism Association, Co-Founder of Travel is Better in Color, Co-Founder of the Collective, a global group of Black travel writers and reporters, publicists, magazine owners and TV personalities
- Martinique Lewis, Co-Founder and President of the Black Travel Alliance, Creator of the ABC Travel Greenbook and the Diversity in Travel Scorecard
- Rue Mapp, Founder and CEO of the national not-for-profit Outdoor Afro
- Patricia Yarbrough, President of Blue World Travel
The BTAB is currently sailing onboard Hurtigruten Expeditions’ MS Roald Amundsen in Antarctica as a way of becoming more familiar with the expedition cruising product. They will be among the first to experience Hurtigruten Expedition’s new West Africa cruises launching this fall. Additionally, each member will receive a fee for the duration of their engagement, with US$5,000 also going to the organization or non-profit of their choice to benefit Black travellers of the Black travel industry. As such, Hurtigruten Group has donated to: The Black Travel Alliance, The Collective, the National Blacks in Travel & Tourism Collaborative, Outdoor Afro, Spelman College Gordon Zeto Center for Global Education, and ASTA, funding professional development opportunities for Black Travel Advisors that are active with the American Society of Travel Advisors.
“The Black Traveler Advisory Board will not only help advance Hurtigruten Expeditions’ inclusivity goals, but ultimately, it will help drive change within the entire cruise industry,” said Lindström.
“We are honored that these incredible leaders within their fields will work with us to drive visibility, identify opportunities within the Black travel movement, and help achieve some of our tangible goals. These include identifying Black scientists as potential lecturers onboard our ships, attracting more expedition leaders of color, learning more about unsung Black explorers that can be incorporated into the company’s expedition cruise itineraries, improving both our written and visual communications and marketing materials, and amplifying career opportunities through their networks,” he added.
More DEI initiatives will be announced in the coming months.