You likely heard about “The Negro Motorist Green Book,” Victor Hugo Green’s guide to services and places that were friendly to Black travelers at a time when discrimination was rampant and Blacks didn’t have the luxury of eating or staying everywhere, and also from the 2019 Best Picture Academy Award winning film “Green Book.” For today’s globe-trotting Black travelers, there’s the newly released “The ABC Travel Greenbook” by Martinique Lewis.
Lewis, who is a diversity in travel consultant, creative lead of Nomadness Travel Tribe, and president of the Black Travel Alliance, has compiled resources for Black travelers to connect with Black communities in every city and country in six out of seven continents. You’ll have information on Black-owned businesses like restaurants, tour and transportation companies among others, as well as Black neighborhoods and online communities in every country. Lewis hopes “The ABC Travel Greenbook” will amplify Black-owned businesses previously left out of major travel publications so that they too are included in press trip itineraries, get attention for their own television segments, and can be starred as a destination for travelers. Another goal is to strengthen local economies and circulate Black dollars.
Lewis shared how “The ABC Travel Greenbook” came to be. What inspired her? “I realized I was having these experiences abroad seeing people who looked like me in places I’d never think. As an avid traveler, I knew if I didn’t know a lot, others didn’t. So I wanted to create a solution to the problem, and that’s how I was able to create ‘The ABC Travel Greenbook.’”
She spent the last two years working on the first edition. She says this will be the work of a lifetime as she’s far from finished. “I was motivated to do research some days and when I felt defeated because of things like language barriers. But once COVID-19 hit and the unfortunate death of George Floyd and everyone saying Black Lives Matter, I knew it was time to complete it and get it to the world,” says Lewis.
How did she gather information from around the globe? Some places she traveled to. Others her travel community traveled to. She got inside information from people in the travel industry on the ground, hundreds of Facebook groups dedicated to Black expats living around the world, and Instagram and Facebook algorithms that linked her to like-minded businesses once she friended or liked a company. While 95% of the book is by her, she had some big assists, namely “Sayuri in Brazil who is an Afro Brazilian tour operator that helped tremendously. And then one girl in Nomadness Tribe created a Google map with all the Black history landmarks in America and I used her Google doc,” says Lewis.
For sure, like most journeys, there were bumpy roads like language barriers in countries where English isn’t spoken. “I had to know the correct words to look up afro hair salons and Black restaurants. Additionally once I got to the continent of Africa and all of the Caribbean, I quickly came to realize that whatever country colonized those places are the ones who own those businesses. Africa businesses related to the travel industry are 90% owned by foreigners and white people,” says Lewis.
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