Profiles of African-American Women in the Travel Industry

In the midst of the Covid-19, let’s be careful but not fearful. Let’s look forward with hope for the future. Remember, we’re still celebrating women this month and women throughout history faced difficulties and challenges but come out victorious! As we continue to celebrate dedicated to us – women, I wanted you to see women like you and me, who once dreamt of becoming big. And today, they have made it! They have made themselves a female entrepreneur in the mostly male-dominated travel business. In celebration of Women’s History month and in my hopes of helping fellow female entrepreneurs, I’ve created a Travel Business Guide for those who want to start their own travel business. Inside this guide, you will get easy to follow steps on how to launch your travel business. You can get it for free when you subscribe to my mailing list.
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The number of businesses owned by African American women grew 322% since 1997, making black females the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S. We can sure learn from their stories and hopefully aim to make ourselves a female travelpreneur soon! 
Rodgers Travel, Inc. is the oldest black-owned travel agency in the US, and its current owner Norma Pratt has worked very hard to carry its legacy. It started as a small family-owned business in August 1949. After working as a school teacher, Pratt became a travel agent for Rodgers Travel, Inc., a company that was co-owned by her father. With her father’s passing in 1980, Pratt was named President and CEO of Rodgers Travel. Being the oldest African-American-owned travel agency, it is a part of the ‘History Makers Collection’ of the Library of Congress. Rodgers now runs a combination onsite and virtual travel agency, serving leisure, corporate and government travelers throughout the country. Times have changed for it, but it is still open and thriving thanks to customers that want a customized travel experience.
Our next lady to be showcased here is a Detroit-native with Ugandan roots. Jessica Nabongo is on a journey to be the first black woman to visit every country in the world. She has over 155 countries and 6 continents under her belt. An avid traveler herself, she is the founder of a boutique travel company called Global Jet Black. She says on her website that “JetBlack is a boutique travel firm with an aim of promoting tourism primarily to countries in Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. It is to help change the narrative and show that many, if not most, countries in the African diaspora should be at the top of your list for beaches, food, nightlife, outdoor activities, spas, culture, history and all of the other things that we love about traveling to new places.” Her Instagram and website have such beautiful and colorful pictures of wherever she has been. So it was only natural for her to start her own travel company. With a plethora of first-hand knowledge after traveling over 155 countries, who will not trust her?!! She writes on her blog regularly, documenting her personal experiences for people to follow. With so much experience, passion and love, we hope Jessica gets that world record very soon! More power to you, Jessica!
“Creating a dream career out of a passion.” Martinique Lewis
Martinique Lewis  a travel consultant and visionary with a background in Fashion Design.  She fused her passion for both design and travel together when creating travel graphics and media. Working with famous brands globally. Lewis had a passion for travel at an early age. In 2018, she created a dream career out of that passion. Working for Black Travel Journey, she realized the issues surrounding black travel and the lack of diversity in many marketing campaigns for major hotels, airlines, and brands. In an interview with Forbes,  Lewis shared “I realized it’s not just black, it’s diversity as a whole…body consciousness, queer travel, It’s not just me feeling this way.” She then started Black Travel Movement- Diversity and Inclusion in the Travel Industry. At first, she was using her own money to pay for expenses when attending conferences and reaching out to travel companies and brands about her advocacy. But later it paid off as more brands reach out to her. She stresses the importance of knowing your value as an entrepreneur and start charging fees for the value you bring on the table. Lewis also said that even while many brands are reaching out to her, there are brands who are just using the Black Travel Movement to gain customers so she makes sure that she only accepts brands that are genuinely interested and passionate about her advocacy. Now that’s something we can all learn from. Her advice to those who want to build their entrepreneurial brand is to share your content on LinkedIn, as it gives your brand credibility. “Brands don’t necessarily care that you have 10,0000 followers from California, but they do want to know that the director of tourism in Albuquerque is commenting” on your posts,” said Lewis. She is now leading the conversation around diversity and inclusive travel worldwide.


Are you feeling as inspired as I am feeling after reading these stories of women who are really representing us in the travel industry? If so, get your FREE copy of Travel Busines Guide to get you started! 
Something we have seen this month is that there is no standard set of rules to start your business, especially in the travel industry. Some stories have been emotional, some inspiring, and some full of struggle. With such a broad sector like travel and tourism, you can start anywhere – a blog, an Instagram profile, an agency, a website, or even an NGO. And it could be in any part of this amazingly vast sector. Wouldn’t we all love to make a profit out of our travel passion?  The truth is, the future can be daunting at times. It can be intimidating. I know it because I have experienced it myself. But sometimes you have to take a leap of faith. You have to find out what works for you and go after it. Is it eco-tourism? Is it a passion to make a mark on history? Is it changing the rules of the game? Is it being a pioneer? Is it helping other women such as yourself? Whatever it is, it will take you on a long and exciting journey which will be full of adventure. If you want to know more and are passionate about starting your travel business, we have a few slots left for a one-on-one call with me. You can submit your application at
Before you go, don’t forget to get your FREE copy of Travel Business Guide!

Happy Women’s Month! Cheers!

Related: Managing Start-Ups: Challenges Unique to Female Entrepreneurs in the Travel Industry
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