Compass_Summer 2021 Master | Page 72

KARAMYSHZ / SHUTTERSTOCK . COM transactions , but we want people to understand . A lot of value comes with relationship building and I think that will show the impact we have on the travel industry , just getting that number out there .
SPANN : It shouldn ’ t be transactional , but we do want to show proof eventually , and every supplier asks for numbers so we know we have to do that , but we don ’ t want the emphasis to solely be on that because we are growing .
Have you been busy planning your conference this November ?
SPANN : Yes ! Our host hotel is the S Hotel in Jamaica . The focus of the conference is really on leadership , that ’ s why it ’ s [ called ] the Beyond Travel Leadership Forum . It ’ s focused on Black business . We are not having a typical conference where all the agents are at one hotel in a conference room , we ’ re actually going out into the community in Jamaica and we ’ re having some of our events in local venues . You know , as many times as I ’ ve been to Jamaica , I ’ ve never been to Montego Bay , not the beach but the town of Montego Bay . They have a civic center and it is beautiful . They have a museum and they talk about the history of Jamaica and the history of Rastafarianism , and we ’ re going to have one of our sessions there . We ’ re also going to have some local events where we go off-property , like an excursion where we ’ re going to go to a local village of artists . We ’ re going to have what we ’ re calling a Barefoot Marketplace on the beach and our sponsored vendors will have booths there , but we ’ ll also invite local businesses to be there .
Real customers want to get off the resort sometimes and they just don ’ t know where or how to do it and I think bridging that gap to show that yes , you can stay on the resort , but you can also one night go to dinner at a local restaurant or get a driver to take you to some other sites that are always so planned , with the bus . Get out and have some real experiences and bridge the gap with the people of Jamaica . So , the focus is going to be well-rounded in that way .
We ’ re travel people so we like to be out . It ’ s very movable . All the sessions are at different places , so the whole time , people will be able to experience and see different parts of Jamaica . We ’ re real excited about it .
Any closing thoughts ? SPANN : This organization was a longtime coming . And we ’ re looking for support from everywhere . We want people to talk about us , to share us , join us , and we want sponsors to come on board .
Learn more about the Association of Black Travel Professionals at abtprofessionals . org .
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