Did you know Latinos account for over $56 billion in leisure travel every year? Yet there is no national or regional community presence for empowering Latinos to connect and travel. Well, at least not until recently, thanks to what was started as an online community Facebook travel group. Latino World Travelers (LWT) seeks to empower Latinx to explore the world and diversify the face of travel. A pretty bold statement that certainly may me curious to attend their first in person conference this year …..
Who are These Folks?
Its founder is a young Dominican woman named Vanessa Fondeur-Adams, who in 2015 created an online travel community among Latinx of all ages to share their collective experiences and knowledge in getting Latinos to feel safe and smart about traveling. Last year, I attended their virtual World Travel Fest, which included a variety of speakers and presentations offered throughout the day. This year, they sponsored their first in-person conference, and I was happy to join them as a speaker on the topic of solo travel.
Did you know that Latinos/Hispanic outspend non-Hispanics by an average of $300 and are more likely to travel with large groups of people? Frankly, I’m not surprised and wonder if advertisers are taking notice. Clearly, an untapped niche market waiting to be found.
So, What About the Conference?
This year, the Latino World Travel Fest event was held in Uptown Manhattan-Washington Heights at the boutique Hotel Radio. It was a small gathering with about 100 attendees and a dozen workshops that cater to everything from wellness to solo traveling, luxury travel, traveling with children, and the decolonizing of travel (yup). There were also workshops for those who are content creators, bloggers or are working in the travel business. Besides, the workshops LWT set up a BIPOC marketplace for Latinx entrepreneurs to sell their goods, where I happily made a purchase to support a young female with her wellness line.
Some interesting tidbits from listening to a much younger group of travelers I’d like to pass on to you.
1. When traveling nationally or internationally, learn about the history of those places. Try to immerse yourself into the country or city’s culture.
2. Seek information from people that look like you that can help you navigate places to go.
3. Not all of Tick-Tok’s recommendations on travel places are good… do your research.
4. When traveling, be conscious of where you spend your money. Try to support the local community. Avoid haggling by assigning value on what they are selling. Remember, it is less expensive than buying it back home. It is also how these communities sustain themselves.
5. Try to learn some basic language phrases, don’t assume that everybody speaks English.
6. Be observant of your surrounding all the time and follow your gut instincts.
7. Think of wellness when you’re traveling, your body needs it!
As someone who has both participated and facilitated the planning of conferences, this was no small feat and clearly was an amazing first start in growing a regional presence for the Latinx community on the opportunities that travel offers to all age groups. It is a well-established network that folks can easily join through social media as it continues to have a growing influence in educating current and future travelers.
For more information, below is Latino World Travel Fest’s contact information. Come join and fill your wanderlust. Everyone is welcome!
Bon Voyage !!!!