The National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals crafted a thoughtful response to the NAACP travel advisory for Florida. The organization is providing guidance for planners on how to address their concerns with suppliers when considering meeting in Florida or any other destination that has "advanced policies that are unwelcoming" to Black, brown and/or LGBTQ+ individuals.
"To be clear, the NAACP’s travel advisory is not a ban or a boycott of the state of Florida," the organization stated. "It is an advisory that implores visitors to be aware of their surroundings and to be purposeful in how they engage while traveling…. We understand the importance of standing for fundamental freedoms and supporting diversity, equity and inclusion from all levels, and we will continue to push for positive change. We also understand the power and influence of tourism to any economy, especially destinations, communities and partners that we consider friends."
Following are specific measures NCBMP advises in its guidelines.
When bringing a meeting to the state of Florida:
- Work with destination management organizations or hotel representatives to compile a list of Black or brown local businesses that provide services for your meeting needs. If the list is not available, require that they develop one.
- Work with the local Black or brown chambers of commerce to find local businesses to support when your meeting is in town.
- Plan a legacy project within the community that raises awareness of specific issues that align with your mission.
If considering meeting in Florida, include the following in your RFPs:
- Demographics of the DMO or hotels, including C-suite and board of directors (if applicable);
- Current supplier diversity spend, specifically for Black and brown businesses;
- Ways the organization has expressed interest in welcoming Black and brown visitors;
- And a full overview of the DMO DEI program.
If you are a DMO, hotel or convention center in Florida:
- Create authentic relationships within your local community.
- Be prepared to thoroughly answer the RFP questions suggested above, and understand the importance of the request.
- Leverage your creativity positively in how you invest in organizations that were built on the principles of DEI.
- Become more present in industry organizations that reflect communities that have been impacted by the policies of the Florida legislature.