I chose to comment on this paper as the topic is linked to mine on ethnic minorities. The paper is well structured, well researched and gives the reader a good overview of the different dynamics of African American tourism.
So, why do blacks' travelling behaviour differ to whites'? I have introduced Washburne's (1978, cited in Klemm, 2002) marginality-ethnicity framework in my discussion paper. The framework is considered as a comprehensive benchmark for literature on race and ethnicity in the context of their leisure behaviour. According to the framework blacks' often belong to a lower class and have a lower income than the white majority. Therefore they cannot afford to go on holidays and are not considered as potential customers (marginality dimension). Washburne also claims that the ways people travel are learned and determined by upbringing and cultural identity (ethnicity dimension).
The framework proves that poverty, discrimination and cultural influences are all important determinants of majority-minority differences. The differences are explained by socioeconomic reasons, without considering the differences between groups within minorities. Washburne's framework has faced a lot of critique as well; as discussed in my discussion paper. (Floyd, 1998) However, it is one of the theoretical "bases" given us to understand blacks' travel behaviour.
Like introduced in this paper, discrimination is another major factor affecting blacks' travelling. Prior to the 1960s, and before the federal civil rights legislation was adopted in the US, the most common form of travelling for the few blacks taking holidays were group trips to regional destinations by land-based transportation. Therefore the risks for racial acts against the African-Americans were minimised. Popular destinations included Orlando, Atlanta (where the Black amenities are located), New York and Niagara Falls (Brunn et al, 2002).
Since then however, blacks' have started travelling to destinations such as Africa and the Caribbean (Brunn et al, 2002), to maintain the "social, economical and cultural ties" with their countries of origin (Grillo, 2008) On the other hand, some African-Americans today choose Europe as a primary destination today (Brunn et al, 2002). These findings agree with the author's research on African-American websites.
Urry (1990, p. 142-3) suggested that UK immigrants would more likely conceive whites' obsession to darken their skins and increase the risk of acquiring skin cancer idiosyncratic. Asian and black minority members are likely to feel perplexed and excluded to the typical British seaside holidays that are very popular within western whites. According to Urry, immigrants would prefer to travel with a more serious purpose than that; travelling that involves finding work, visiting or joining family and relatives.
One thing that puzzled me in this paper was the author's suggestion that the travel agents researched were internet based, and therefore have an advantage over other agencies. I would think that most of today's travel agents are online? Also, is there prove that these travel agents are successful? Even though a need for African-American tour operators has been recognised, is the demand big enough for operating successful business?
All in all, I have found this an interesting discussion topic.
Brunn, S. D, Butler, D. L. & Carter, P. L. (2002) African-American Travel Agents: Travais and Survival. Annals of Tourism Research. 29 (4) pp. 1022-1035.
Floyd, M. F.; Boracco, J. N. & Thompson, T. D. (2008) Research on race and ethnicity in leisure studies: a review of five major journals. Journal of Leisure Research. 40 (1) pp. 1-22.
Grillo, R. (2008) Family in QWuestion: Immigrant and Ethnic Minorities in Multicultural Europe. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. [E-book]. Available at: http://site.ebrary.com/lib/ulincoln/docDetail.action?docID=1030266.
[Accessed at 21/04/10].
Klemm, M. (2002) Tourism and Ethnic Minorities in Bradford: The Invisible Segment. Journal of Travel Research. 41 pp. 85-91.
Urry, J. (1990) The Tourist Gaze: leisure and travel in contemporary societies, London: Sage.