224 | Mixed Message: Multicultural and heritage tourism is big business


Most people the world over think of the United States as a multicultural melting pot. We are still quintessentially American, but from north to south and east to west, our cities and outlying communities are dotted with districts defined by residents’ ethnicity and culture.

Today, the more developed and culturally defined areas are attracting visitors in search of new experiences and information.

Cities with Chinatowns, Latino barrios, Indian American corridors and African American neighborhoods are seeing a surge in national and international travelers eager to either connect with their roots or satisfy their curiosity.

Many ethnically diverse communities, as well as business and social organizations, are rising up to abet the travel trend, which many experts say is only going to grow stronger as more and more travelers seek unique and memorable experiences.

Multicultural or heritage tourism is good for the hospitality industry and it is also beneficial to a city’s economic growth. One study we’ll talk about says the more diverse a city, the stronger its economy.

In today’s episode, Lodging Leaders examines how hotels and other hospitality businesses can capture a generous piece of this tourism trend.

We talk to Connie Kinnard, vice president of multicultural tourism development for the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau; Greg DeShields, executive director of PHL Diversity in Philadelphia; and Michael Fullerton, senior director of public policy and public affairs for Brand USA.

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