Black Americans spent an estimated $63 billion on travel in 2018, according to a study by Mandala Research. But Evita Robinson, the founder of Nomadness Travel Tribe, an online community for travelers of color with 25,000 members, believes their spending power is actually even greater. This is why Robinson, who is also a 2018 AFAR Travel Vanguard honoree, launched a new survey earlier this summer to reveal more data about Black and brown travelers on an international scale.
“We wanted to be able to speak to the influence that we have directly on the economy of the travel industry, what’s important to us, and the role that we play in the industry overall,” Robinson told AFAR. “I hope that [the travel industry] will use [the data] in their marketing and representation. I’m hoping that they will really take it to heart and understand the vastness of our community and how varied we are. We’re not a monolith.”
The Nomadness Diversity in Travel Consensus aims to bridge this gap in representation by seeking input from travelers of color from around the world. The 2018 study by Mandala Research based its information on interviews with 1,747 Black American travelers. So far, Nomadness has gathered data from more than 4,000 travelers of color from the United States and beyond through its survey, which takes about 15 minutes to complete and is available online now through September 16.
In addition to gathering data that shows the influence all travelers of color—not just Black Americans—have on the global travel industry, Robinson wanted to make sure travelers of color had ownership of their own data.
“While we know that other research surveys are reputable, we also don’t know who these people are that make up the sample sizes,” Robinson said. “To be able to get on stages and give keynotes and presentations with our own data—it means a lot because 2020 is about ownership.”
The survey covers six main areas, including demographics, COVID-19 effects, travel behaviors and desires, marketing and representation, technology, as well as a category called “Nomadness engagement,” which aims to gather information specifically on the Nomadness community.
In addition to answering how much money on average they spend for airfare, lodging, and activities on each international and domestic trip, all survey takers—Nomadness members or not—can also expect questions about the following: what kind of experiences they seek when traveling (outdoor adventure, culinary, budget, luxury, etc.); if they prefer city, nature-based, beach, or mountain destinations; what their top three bucket list destinations are; and the effects COVID-19 had on their travel plans this year.
By looking at these booking trends and spending behaviors from both a quantitative and qualitative point of view, Robinson aims to breathe life into the survey numbers to share the story of the entire community of travelers of color.
Robinson says that in some ways, she doesn’t expect to be surprised by what she finds. However, she hopes the data will force the travel industry to acknowledge the influence travelers of color actually have—and then adjust marketing budgets accordingly.
“They’re going to see how interested we are in things like outdoors, which for the longest time we’ve had a reputation of not partaking in, they’re going to see the fact that when it comes to the economics of travel that our interests and our economic capabilities are across the board,” Robinson said.
Nomadness will be releasing the report on the survey’s findings at a virtual travel industry event, which takes place on December 10. Tickets are available here.
>> Next: This Travel App Offers a New Way to Learn About Black History Around the World
Lyndsey Matthews Lyndsey Matthews is the senior commerce editor at AFAR who covers travel gear, packing advice, and points and loyalty.