Conference 2018

Opening Session- The Infrastructure: Regional Approach
Wells Fargo Auditorium
Michelle Mapp, Moderator/ Gullah Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission/ SC African- American Heritage Commission/ Georgia African American Historic Preservation Network
Tourism infrastructure is a range of devices and institutions constituting material and organizational basis for tourism development. The top regional organization focused on African- American History & Culture discuss issues related to the development of African- American Tourism’s infrastructure such as strategies to maintain and promote sites, improve interpretation, repair and updated infrastructure and technology, and a need for investment in product development.

The Infrastructure: Current Projects Around the State
Wells Fargo Auditorium
Michael Moore, Katherine Saunders, Bobby Donaldson
Learn about the exciting these exciting projects happening around the state and how you can participate. Charleston International African- American Museum/ Historic Charleston Foundation- Mosquito Beach Project/ Historic Columbia Foundation- Project 63/ Equalization of Schools, Johns Island, SC.

Resource Development for “Entrepreneurs”
2nd Flr. Rm. 214
LDC, SCORE/Small Business Development Center/MBE Office City of Charleston/GCRA/SC Community Loan Fund
Learn about local and state resources to help you advance your business and nonprofits including business and financial planning, grants, low interest loan programs, and information concerning tax accommodation programs- over $3,000,000 in grants for tourism related and cultural arts programming.

Resource Development for “Nonprofits”
2nd Flr. Rm. 216
City of North Charleston/ County of Charleston/ City of Charleston/ Berkeley County
Learn about local and state resources in the form of tax accommodation programs- over $3,000,000 in grants for tourism related and cultural arts programming. Funds can be used to market and promote your cultural arts or tourism related event to out of town markets.

Resource Development: Special Events, Festival, Cultural Events
2nd Flr. Rm. 218
Facilitator, Jessie Bagley, Director of Marketing and Public Relations, Spoleto Festival
Spoleto USA is one of the nation’s premiere festivals with an economic impact of $55 Million, and equivalent of 950 jobs in the local economy. This session takes an in-depth look at ways to market and produce successful festivals.

12:00 Noon
Historic Designations
2nd Flr. Rm. 214
Facilitator, Elizabeth Johnson
Getting your neighborhood labeled an historic district can can be beneficial to the community in a myriad of ways. Communities can capitalize on historic tourism. Communities can access historic preservation resources to preserve its cultural and historical integrity. It can help build a stronger sense of community.

12:00 Noon
The Black Travel Movement: Marketing to African- American Millennials
2nd Flr. Rm. 216
Moderator, Tonita Perry
Presenters: Johnny Caldwell & Taneka Reaves, Cocktail Bandits/ Reggie Cummings- Black Travel Movement (Facebook Group)
Learn about black travel groups. These companies work hard to provide experiences that are tailored to a more diverse set of travelers; they change the narrative about what travelers look like and how they travel. When millennials hit the road they want unique experiences, as well as cultural and authentic encounters. Along the way millennials will share their experiences on social media and rely heavily on user reviews to make travel decisions. Brand loyalty is typically low. Tapping into these desires and habits is crucial to securing younger traveler.

12:00 Noon
Digital Marketing Strategies for Tour Operators
2nd Flr. Rm 218
Facilitator, Ashlea Pope
Discussion on Google Adwords, Facebook/Instagram advertising, paid and earned social media advertising.

1:00 pm
Luncheon & Keynote “$2.4 Billion Impact on SC: What’s Next?”
Dr. Kevin Ho, Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development
The economic impact study conducted in 2016 was an eye opener for both government officials and tourism industry stakeholders tasked with growing the industry. Come and listen to Dr. Ho as he details potential next steps stakeholders can take to maximize this potential to bring more dollars, more businesses, and more jobs to South Carolina.

Luncheon Catered by:
Hannibal’s Kitchen
Local African- American Owned Caterer- Featuring Authentic Gullah Dishes
Blake Street, an anonymous lane in the East Side neighborhood, bounded by public housing projects and industrial port operations, certainly doesn’t draw an affluent crowd to its door. Hannibal’s Kitchen should. For five bucks you get a meat and three experience worthy of the late Alice’s Fine Foods.
“This evolution of tradition, which caters to the tastes of its customers, makes Hannibal’s somewhat different from humdrum purveyors of red rice, collards, and chicken. In a way it makes them more real, and more likely to generate the next culinary myth of the Lowcountry.” – Charleston City Paper Restaurant Review- Jeff Allen 11/08/06

Reconstruction Era Monument: 1. City of Beaufort 2. National Park Service 3. Mitchellville 4. Penn Center
Wells Fargo Auditorium
Mayor Billy Keyserling, Dawn Dawson, Deloris Pringle, Joyce Wright, Dr. Lawrence
South Carolina’s African- American Tourism Infrastructure received a boost with the addition of the Reconstruction Era National Monument which consists of Darrah Hall and Brick Baptist Church, both located on St. Helena Island in the Penn Center National Historic Landmark District; Camp Saxton at Fort Fredrick in Port Royal; and the Old Beaufort Firehouse. Reconstruction Era National Monument is dedicated to commemorating the period from 1861 through 1900 when nearly 4 million African Americans, newly freed from bondage, sought to integrate into a free society and into the educational, economic, and political life of the country.

Gullah Geechee Themed Tour
Gullah Tour: As the name implies, the Gullah language, native to the Charleston area, is featured on much of the tour. Of course, if Gullah was spoken throughout the tour, you would not understand, nor would you enjoy the beautiful and interesting sites of Charleston. Your tour guide, Alphonso Brown, is a native of Rantowles, SC, a rural community of Charleston, and is fluent in the Gullah language and familiar with many of the Gullah customs.

Sites & Insights Tours: Explore Charleston’s ubiquitous African American History & Gullah Geechee Culture with Sites and Insights Tours, Inc., departing daily from the Charleston Visitor Center. Let’s travel through the streets of downtown Charleston, or venture off the Charleston peninsula to visit two of our nearby Sea Islands – James & Johns – or perhaps you’d enjoy the unique blend of taking in both downtown & the two Sea Islands. Whichever tour you select, you’ll see, hear & experience an inclusive look at one of America’s premier destinations with emphasis on area African American history & culture.

Networking Reception
Waterfront Art Gallery
Afrobeats Theme- African- American ArtWork- Poetry Feature
Conference participants will be grouped with industry professionals to discuss opportunities for growth. Lunch will be provided by Hannibal’s Soul Food Restaurant serving authentic Gullah dishes.

February 16, 2019
Think Tank Strategy Development
Facilitators, Michael Allen & Rashida Jeffers- Campbell
Elected Officials, Businesses, and Industry Officials here an update on the Tourism Development Plan originally created in 2012 at the inaugural AA Tourism Conference. The Goals, Objectives, and Priorities are annually reviewed and modified by the body.