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African American Travel Conference is a hit at Niagara Falls

All photos by Michael Smith, Courtesy Niagara Tourism Corp.

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — More than 300 delegates attended the 14th annual African American Travel Conference (AATC) at the state-of-the-art Niagara Falls Conference Center April 20-22.
Hosted by Niagara USA, the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp., the conference brought the travel industry together with travel planners for African American groups from 20 states who will take 50,000 travelers on tour this year.

The conference featured more than 5,000 business appointments between travel industry delegates and group travel buyers. The AATC Marketplace is the industry’s largest business session for the African American group market.

“The African American market is significant to the travel industry because of the large volume of group and package travel generated,” said Charlie Presley, AATC founder. “The U.S. Travel Association reports that the African American community travels on group tours twice as often as the U.S. population as a whole, making this the most valuable segment of group travel.

“The African American community travels together on vacations, reunions and weekend getaways. They also look to a community organizer to lead the travel, and that is the AATC group leader.”

The Seneca Niagara Casino set the stage for the conference as the host of the opening reception and dinner.

“Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores made a lot of new friends at AATC, and we will be back to support this great gathering,” said Lamar Hadley of Cracker Barrel.

The host city planned a series of five separate sightseeing programs that featured heritage, shopping and dining that gave delegates insight into planning trips to the region. A dine-around dinner hosted by the Niagara Tourism and Convention Corp. followed the tours.

Sponsors for the event included Niagara USA, Seneca Niagara Casino, Rock Hill-York County, S.C., the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the Virginia Beach CVB, the Little Rock CVB, Globus Family of Brands, Miami Air International and Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores.

The Crowne Plaza Hotel, which recently underwent a $25 million renovation, was the headquarters hotel for the conference.

Next year’s AATC conference will be April 12-14 in Virginia Beach, Va.