The global pandemic has put the brakes on international travel, but as the scripture says, this too shall pass. When the world reopens, be ready with the ABC Travel Green Book, a guide to modern-day Black tourism.
The self-published book is the brainchild of Martinique Lewis. The diversity consultant and travel lover noticed a lack of diversity in traditional travel publications and realized the industry ignored a huge segment of tourists: African Americans. For Lewis, the void was obvious and after some thought, decided it was up to her to solve the problem.
“There’s no representation of me anywhere, and I know how much money I spend on traveling annually,” Lewis said in an interview on CNN.
The “ABC Travel Green Book,” is a directory that lists Black-owned businesses, restaurants, communities, tours and festivals in the US and abroad.
If this book sounds familiar, you don’t have to look too far in history for Lewis’ inspiration. Victor Hugo Green, a postal worker from New York, created the “Negro Motorist Green Book” in 1936. During the Jim Crow era, the Green Book gave Black travelers a trusted list of locations in the U.S. that served them without discrimination.
After the 1964 Civil Rights Act banned segregation in public spaces, the Green Book stopped publication after 30 years.
“Victor Hugo Green is not celebrated enough,” Lewis says. “He is the reason that my grandparents were safe traveling from Tennessee to California. He is the reason Black people decided to get out and go.”
Her mission goes beyond the book. Lewis, along with 17 of her colleagues, are holding several tourism boards and travel brands accountable through their organization, Black Travel Alliance. The group pushes the travel industry to be more inclusive and speak more directly to the community of Black travelers, who contributed $63 billion to the U.S. travel and tourism economy in 2018.
Lewis also made the “ABC Travel Green Book” to allow Black tourists and others to connect with Black communities in new spaces around the world.
“This is for travelers everywhere who call themselves an ally and who say they want to support Black voices and patronize Black businesses,” Lewis says. “This book helps you identify where exactly those people, those communities, those places are.”
For more information, go to ABC Travel Green Book.