Americans don’t travel. Currently less than 30% of Americans have a US passport and even fewer travel outside of the American continents. If experience is a master teacher, then the American public has fallen behind.
While considering the 30% of passport holding Americans I began to wonder, how many black Americans were a part of that percentage. It seems that when it comes to international travel, black travelers are few and far between. There are a number of factors, of course, that contribute to this reality. Social standing and income as well as the experiences of those around you—a legacy of travel experience—are some of the most obvious issues.
According to the U.S. Census Bureauthe median income of black households is a few thousand below that of the American average. And while many people who travel develop the habit in college the bureau also reports that less than 20% of black Americans hold a bachelor’s degree. However, the U.S. Census also reports that black Americans make up a large part of American entrepreneurship, and black investors are making waves in the financial market. It is important as we make strides forward that we also consider the wealth of experience.
According to Black Meetings and Tourism magazine, African-Americans are developing more of an interest in domestic travel. The magazine reports that there has recently been a boom in what they refer to as “heritage tourism.” It’s a step in the right direction.
International travel not only provides insight into the past and various communities but it is an equalizer of experience. Traveling internationally, familiarity with different cultures translates into varied understanding; a point of view that is valued not only in the work of philosophers and social reformists but from marketing and industry standpoints. No matter how “globalized” the world becomes, how readily available cultures are made from our own homes, it remains true that nothing beats a face to face.