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1999 Traveler's Companion.

Business Travel, Affinity Travel, Vacation Travel and just plain wanderlust are all key factors in the ever-increasing number of African-Americans who travel. Popular destinations are many and include locales in the United States, Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and the Caribbean. The travel industry has recognized the 450 billion buying power of African-Americans.

One trend, recently discussed at the 22nd Annual Caribbean Tourism Conference held in Jamaica in September 1998, is to design travel programs to appeal to the diverse African-American Market. Travel professionals expect this trend to become even more evident as we move into the new Millennium.

With the upswing in the number of African-Americans travelers along with the recognized African-American buying power, travel providers are offering more diverse products. Some of these products are specifically geared to the African-American traveler and are tailored for the destination. It is quite common to find options, such as:

* Historical & Cultural Tours

* Art & Museum Shows

* Festivals and other Entertainment Events

* Sports and Recreation Events

The savvy traveler gathers brochures, uses Internet sites and/or a good travel agent to preview vacation locale attractions and offerings. Many festivals and events are time dependent; advance research will enable those interested in a specific event to ensure that their arrival will correspond to the event date. Convention and Visitors Bureaus are excellent sources for destination and special event information.

THE VIRTUAL OFFICE

The last few years has seen a refinement of the amenities needed and demanded by the sophisticated Business Traveler. The increase in hotels offering specific configurations for the business traveler is steadily rising. It is very common to find hotels in all price categories and all cities offering: data ports for computers, fax/copy services and airline and car rental affinity discounts for the business traveler.

Conveniences and services that a few years ago were pegged as what we could expect in the next century are available now. Many hotel Business Centers offer computer workstations, internet access, e-mail accounts, printers, desktop publishing and even technical support for guests. With all of these available services, plus the equipment the traveling business person carries, productivity while on the road can equal or exceed that in the office.

Business Travelers have developed specific travel expertise. They know the "How To" of getting around airports, cities and hotels. They have identified the quickest routes, the best ground transportation options, the best places to get travel information and the hotels that work best for them.

Many African-American professionals travel extensively. Their use of the virtual office has become common place. The latest technology devices, including wireless modems, integrated pagers, message centers and cell phones are all used to conduct business while traveling. According to Computer Reseller Magazine (US), "IBM's ThinkPad 600 is a tour de force of design and technology" Whether accessing your company's resources, or running demanding applications, people on the go need a machine that brings it all together.

REMINDERS FOR THE EXPERIENCED BUSINESS TRAVELERS:

* Consider membership in Airline Mileage Programs and Airline Membership Clubs. There is nothing better than spending a four hour layover in the comfort of an Airline Membership Club as opposed to waiting at the gate. In fact, many executives chair meetings at the Clubs. Routinely found at most Clubs are data ports, copy services, computers, on-line services, conference rooms, telephones and other business amenities, plus beverages and television.

* Carry an extra (or two) modular telephone cord (25 feet) to extend the placement of your laptop in your guest room. While most hotels offer data ports in guestrooms, the ports may not be positioned exactly where you want to work. At the same time, consider carrying extra extension cords to extend the connection and position of your laptop and/or printer. Don't forget, extra battery packs and diskettes!

* When booking rental cars, consider requesting vehicles with navigational systems and cell phones.

CONFERENCE, INCENTIVE & AFFINITY TRAVEL ... GETTING THE MOST FOR YOUR MONEY

We have seen an increasing number of Affinity Groups (e.g., professional organizations) and Conferences in which African-Americans are participating. Generally, these trips are well defined and organized with considerable advanced scheduling.

Get the most for your money. Select hotels that best fit your travel profile, Take advantage of lower group rates and extend your trip with pre or post tours. If such tours are not offered, request them through your conference provider or work with your Travel Professional to arrange a custom add-on trip. If done in advance, you should be able to find good rates.

Use the services of The Convention and Visitors Bureaus. They are excellent sources for destination specific information. They know their locale. If you want specific recommendations for entertaining clients, touring, historical sites, cultural events, shopping and even where to go for romantic dinners and lively nightlife, ask them!

MAKE YOUR VACATION THE BEST ...

Not to be overlooked is the large market of family vacation. Travel Suppliers are constantly re-assessing the demand for family resorts. Throughout the United States (and other destinations), family resorts can be found. Travelers should do their research to determine if the activities offered by the resort are compatible with their vacation needs and desires.

Depending on whether or not you are traveling with children or even pets, what you need to take with you will be very specific. Generally, regardless of the composition of the entourage, the following should not be forgotten:

* Use the services of a good professional travel planner (travel agent) to make planning your vacation as stress free as the vacation itself!

* Take Photo ID/Passport (Verify the requirements with your airline, travel professional and tourist offices, if applicable.)

* Carry all medications in original prescription bottles, or in original over the counter bottles. Use travel size containers when you can. Take extra glasses or contacts.

* Carry a good supply of zip lock plastic bags (quart and gallon size). A wonderful item that can be used in a multitude of ways: for damp items, cosmetics and even for packing clothing sets for children!

* If you are traveling with pets, ensure that your hotel accepts pets. Take your own towels and/or pet throws to cover the area where the pet will sleep. Additionally, take travel containers for food and water.

IT'S TIME TO GO ...

Technological advances have made business travel much easier. Select your hotels to support your business needs. When you vacation or attend conferences, get the most for your money. Research, plan and book your trips in advance. Determine what you need and get what you want. Most importantly ensure you have adequate support in planning your travels so that when you arrive, you arrive stress-free!

AMERICAN AIRLINES

With over 3,600 flights a day to over 250 cities in over 40 countries, American Airlines and American Eagle can take you anywhere you want to go. If your business calls you to travel throughout the United States, Canada or Mexico or abroad to Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America or Japan, you can count on more than 95,000 employees dedicated to keeping you on schedule.

American offers you the choice of up to three classes of service - First Class, Business Class and Economy - to suit just about any travel need. By becoming a member of the AADVANTAGE travel awards program you can earn valuable mileage credit for award travel worldwide and upgrades. And, Admirals Club members can enjoy a quiet place to work or relax in our more than 45 Club locations throughout the world.

In our continuous quest to simplify your travel planning. American is the first airline to implement electronic ticketing worldwide. For additional convenience, the itinerary confirmation and receipts for your Electronic Ticket can be sent to you via email so you can proceed directly to your gate without checking in at the airport ticket counter. Electronic Tickets can be booked through your Travel Agent, by calling American directly or via American's website.

American is also proud to announce their relationship with the new oneworld[TM] global brand alliance. This (TM) is an alliance among five of the world's leading airlines - American Airlines, British Airways, Canadian Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Quantas - dedicated to making global travel more convenient. Via oneworld, you can now connect to other oneworld airline's flights via the worldwide route network and reap the opportunities for mileage awards and access to more clubs and lounges.

For more information or reservations, call your Travel Agent, or American Airlines at 1-800-433-7300, or visit us on the web at www.aa.com

GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE

IMMERSE YOURSELF IN GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE

Twenty three miles of wide, sandy beaches stretch along calm, azure waters ... from Palm Beach in the north to Miami in the south. Greater Fort Lauderdale, the Venice of America, also boasts 300 miles of navigable inland waterways.

But immersing yourself in Greater Fort Lauderdale need not involve a single drop of water. Plunge into a culture as deep as the ocean. A culture characterized by Seminoles and Broadway shows. Serious golf and whimsical water taxis. Fusion cuisine and tasty jazz. And like the horizon here, the list goes on and on and on.

Greater Fort Lauderdale is home to diverse cultural experiences--from the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum of Seminole culture in the Everglades to the Old Dillard Museum showcasing African American heritage. Add 3000 hours of sunshine annually an average temperature of 77 degrees,

28,000 hotel rooms, 2,500 restaurants, and a wealth of off-the beach activities for a perfect vacation and meeting location.

New developments include the recent opening of the National Car Rental Center for the Florida Panthers hockey team, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World sporting goods mega store, the IGFA World Fishing Center and new entertainment complexes along the beachfront and Las Olas Boulevard.

Year-round sports includes the Florida Marlins major league baseball, the Baltimore Orioles for spring training, thoroughbred racing at Gulfstream Park, harness racing at Pompano Park, Dania Jai Alai, and dog racing at Hollywood Greyhound Track.

Twelve major malls plus one-of-a-kind boutiques along downtown Fort Lauderdale's chic Las Olas Boulevard, the Swap Shop, the south's largest indoor/outdoor flea market, and Sawgrass Mills, the world's largest designer outlet mall present shopping opportunities galore.

For your free copy of the 1999 Greater Fort Lauderdale African American Visitors Guide or to book your vacation package getaway, call 800-22-SUNNY.

THE HYATT TOUCH

It's more than a concept, it's an attitude. One found in every Hyatt hotel. With innovative programs designed to not only meet our guests', expectations, but to surpass them. And with products like Business Plan and Regency Club, you can even upgrade to specialized levels of service.

It's Business Plan. Express continental breakfast, newspaper and specially equipped rooms with a personal work area, computer hookup and fax, all for a nominal charge. Complimentary fitness centers and no phone access charges. Everything a business traveler needs to be as productive on the road as they are in the office.

It's Regency Club. Spacious guest rooms with elegant touches for guests who desire a higher level of service and privacy. Continental breakfast, newspaper, a dedicated concierge, evening cocktails and hors d'oeuvres. Helping to make it an ideal setting for casual social gatherings.

It's Business Centers. You can enjoy the support of a complete mobile office at select Hyatt Hotels. A full-time staff that helps with photocopying, courier services, and arrangements for special business functions. Offering the support and comfort every business traveler needs.

And it's Gold Passport. With special benefits such as a Five-Minute Express Check-In(SM) and valuable points for room upgrades, free nights or other travel rewards for frequent guests. Because loyalty deserves its rewards.

Whether our guests spend their time working, or simply enjoying where business travel takes them, Hyatt makes sure to meet all their needs. No matter what they are. That's the Hyatt touch.

LOUISIANA TOURISM

Whether it's business or leisure, a Visit to Louisiana will most certainly Be a pleasure this year. The Statewide celebration of our French Heritage - Franco Fete '99 - is calling for not just good times but great times from the Red River to the Gulf of Mexico.

For the past 300 years, French culture has mingled with the African, Caribbean and Spanish to create the most sumptous cultural gumbo in the U.S. Search from sea to shining sea, but you'll soon find there is nothing like Louisiana. If you start from the top of the "boot" and work your way down, you'll find vibrant cities, the winding crossroads of our history, renowned art, food and music, and the "northernmost Caribbean city," New Orleans.

Festivals and cultural events dot the landscape of our communities like magnolia trees and muddy bayous. Starting on January 1st with the city of Lafayette's Kwanzaa Celebration, through the carnival celebrations that pop up from New Orleans to Lake Charles, to the Tezcuco Bonfire Christmas Celebration in Burnside, we find a reason to celebrate all year long. Food, history, music, dance- if it's good to us, we've got a festival for it!

When you need a break from the good times (as if!), we've got quiet times too. From the beauty of Northern Louisiana's pristine state parks, to the majesty of the Mississippi as it snakes toward the Gulf, you'll be unable to resist a relaxing sunset on the deck of a paddlewheeler or a quiet walk through rolling hills.

NORTHWEST AIRLINES

Northwest Airlines has formed partnerships with airlines worldwide to provide our customers a global network with service to more than 400 cities in 80 countries on six continents. With Northwest and our travel partners, you'll experience the benefits of coordinated schedules and a seamless flight experience, all while earning miles in the world's best free travel program, WorldPerks.

WorldPerks offers the most flexible reward travel options for any frequent flyer program. You can earn miles toward free travel every time you fly with Northwest or one of our travel partners and your miles will add up even faster each time you use WorldPerks hotel, rental car, restaurant, credit card, long distance partners and more.

When you're traveling, make sure to visit one of Northwest's 31 WorldClubs locations. Northwest WorldClubs provide members a place to relax or work utilizing the computers, telephones, fax machines, conference rooms and work spaces.

Whether you're extending your business trip for pleasure or planning a vacation, Northwest WorldVacations are a perfect travel option. WorldVacations packages allow you to customize your vacation at a package price with discounted air fare, accommodations, sightseeing tours, car rentals, and more. Plus you'll receive up to 2000 WorldPerks Bonus Miles with each WorldVacations package purchase.

Every time you fly Northwest we strive to provide you with the most comfortable, innovative service. Our World Business Class service provides generous personal space with expanded legroom and enhanced seat recline, in addition to menus developed by world renowned chefs. Domestically, passengers can fly in First Class Comfort for the price of a Coach ticket with a ConnectFirst fare. With ConnectFirst, you receive a free First Class upgrade plus 1000 WorldPerks Bonus miles roundtrip on qualifying connecting flights. With great service and offers like these, it's easy to see why Northwest Airlines is your best choice for travel. For more information, visit us online at www.nwa.com, call your travel agent or call Northwest at 1-800-225-2525.

ROYAL CARIBBEAN

A captain of the cruising industry since 1969, Royal Caribbean International has an operating budget of over $1.36 billion, with an annual sailing roster of over a million passengers. In 1999, RCI will introduce its' next series of super ships called The Eagle I and II; each with the capacity to carry over 3,100 passengers. "Royal Caribbean has been working with National Professionals Network over the past seven years to expand its African American markets to include for pleasure trips and business conferences. "Ids a relationship that we're proud of" says Richard Fain, Chairman and C.E.O., RCI.

For seven years in a row, NPN in partnership with RCI, has attracted African American professionals from over 27 cities and four countries to board a Royal Caribbean International luxury ship. In 1999, aboard the Legend of the Seas, RCI and NPN will sail again cruising the southern Mediterranean. NAACP President, Kwesi Mfume called NPN "fabulous." "The best vacation I ever had", was how Wyman Smith, Vice president of Anheuser-Busch described his 1998 European cruise.

"We've never had a group-like NPN, that consistently books every penthouse suite and first class flight ticket available" Michael Applebaum, V.P. of Sales, RCI.
COPYRIGHT 1999 Earl G. Graves Publishing Co., Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1999, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:22nd Annual Caribbean Tourism Conference
Publication:Black Enterprise
Date:Jan 1, 1999
Words:2743
Previous Article:GOING FOR THE GOAL.
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