More than 20 Bermuda’s Black-owned tourism businesses will be featured on the Bermuda Tourism Authority’s (BTA) tourism stakeholder portal BTAConnect during Black History Month in the United States.

A BTA spokesperson said the February initiative will highlight “the businesses, and the entrepreneurs behind them” to be featured across the organisation’s corporate and consumer social channels, interspersed with features on local Black history-makers”.

“Black History Month was created in the United States to shine a light on the oft obscured histories and achievements of African Americans. The observance of Black History Month has spread throughout the Diaspora, including Bermuda, and serves to show respect and acknowledgement for the rich history of people of African descent. More than 60% of Bermuda’s population identifies as Black.”

Interim CEO, Glenn Jones, said: “Our support for Black-owned tourism businesses must not be merely in words, it must be in actions as well. I’m delighted to see our team’s effort to promote these talented Bermudian makers, creators and entrepreneurs.

“The new Black heritage content on our website, the increased accessibility to the Black graveyard in St. George, our facilitation of Issa Rae’s visit last fall and now this social media programming–all of it is strategically important to meeting our ambitious National Tourism Plan goals around Black travel.”

The BTA added: “The BTA’s strategic work regarding Black travel has been ongoing. In 2018 BTA partnered with travel data experts, Mandala Research to explore ways to attract the Black traveler segment. The National Tourism Plan has set a target that seeks to double the island’s Black leisure air visitor figures by 2025. Increasingly, Black travelers seek out Black-owned businesses when they travel.

“Last year, the BTA assembled a directory of Black-owned businesses to contribute information on their products, services and experiences that highlight Black heritage, culture, and adventure. The online hub, titled, A Guide to Black Culture & Heritage,  features Black-owned businesses which form an essential part of the diverse Bermuda visitor experience.

“Bermuda Cupcake Company, a gourmet cupcake and dessert food truck business will be the first in the series. Malisa Swan, owner, explains in the campaign her pride of Bermuda and entrepreneurism.

“BTAConnect is a partner portal for those who work or own businesses in the Bermuda tourism economy. It is designed to connect registered businesses with important strategic information about the industry and offers marketing opportunities.

“It also gives stakeholders ownership of their presence on GoToBermuda.com. All interested tourism entrepreneurs should email [email protected] to get a user login for BTAConnect.”