A new survey from Mandela Research shows that African American history and culture are strong motivators for travel.
The study was conducted on behalf of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor using the states that make up the corridor: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Findings in the report were based on a national market survey of 1,000 U.S. leisure travelers, focusing on the Gullah Geechee community members and tourism officials.
At least a quarter of all travelers (24%) expressed a strong interest in visiting sites in the South that are of historical significance to African Americans.
The report valued potential leisure-travel spend among the four states analyzed at $34 Billion.
Overall, the relative importance of African American culture in choosing a destination is high, with 36% of all travelers ranking it either “very important” or “somewhat important.”
The report also sheds light on the most desired cultural experiences. “Experiencing local cuisine” was cited by 65% of the travelers surveyed, setting the stage for more investment in educating Americans about traditional Gullah Geechee foodways and creating more cross-cultural culinary experiences around Gullah Geechee restaurants, farms, and chefs.
“I introduced the legislation creating this National Heritage Area to help preserve this important culture and create heritage sites that could become touchstones for attracting tourists,” said House Majority Whip Leader Congressman James Clyburn, representing South Carolina.