Website pairs Black professionals with tourism jobs

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Stephanie Jones is founder and CEO of the National Blacks in Travel & Tourism Collaborative and a United States Travel and Tourism Advisory board member.

Stephanie M. Jones

A one-stop-shop website aimed at matching Black professionals with tourism business opportunities just went live.

The Black Tourism Talent Directory features profiles of Black businesses, professionals and students and encourages destination marketing organizations, travel brands, associations and media to connect with them for employment opportunities.

The site is the brainchild of Stephanie Jones, owner of Cultural Heritage Alliance Tours and founder of the National Blacks in Travel and Tourism Collaborative. Jones hopes that the site can help level the playing field for Black professionals in the tourism industry.

“We don’t want them to continue to say we can’t find black talent,” she said in a recent interview.

In April, the National Blacks in Travel and Tourism Collaborative plans to expand the website to include training for Black professionals and small business to make sure they are “tourism ready.” Jones hopes that Black business owners who have not previously thought of their businesses as part of the tourism industry will take advantage of the training during what for most people is a lull due to COVID-19.

“There’s still way too many of our Black businesses that are not on the radar,” she said. “This is our window of opportunity to get prepared to resume and rebuild. We can’t afford for this industry to remain the same or to revert back.”

The website is free to use for Black professionals, businesses and students. Companies can sign up for an annual membership for $499.

Jones won second place in the 2020 Miami Herald Startup Pitch Competition FIU Track for Culture onShore, a soon to debut online marketplace for cultural heritage tours and activities that are led by local tour guides.

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Taylor Dolven is a business journalist who has covered the tourism industry at the Miami Herald since 2018. Her reporting has uncovered environmental violations of cruise companies, the impact of vacation rentals on affordable housing supply, safety concerns among pilots at MIA’s largest cargo airline and the hotel industry’s efforts to delay a law meant to protect workers from sexual harassment.