(Harrisburg, PA | February 2022) -- Visit Hershey & Harrisburg (VHH) announces the latest project in the organization’s Experience Development program – The Black Travel Experience. Experience Development projects focus on ways to take the many tourism assets in the Hershey Harrisburg Region and present them in a way that’s focused on – and useful to - a variety of specific audiences. The Black Travel Experience connects Black travelers to businesses, experiences, landmarks, and stories that highlight the region’s diversity and notable, culturally-significant moments in history.
“Savvy travelers are looking for more than just lists of places to eat, stay, and play,” says Visit Hershey &Harrisburg President & CEO Mary Smith. “They look to organizations like ours to paint a picture of what they can expect when they visit and to curate suggestions on ways for them to get the most out of a unique travel experience,” said Smith.
VHH began cultivating resources and developing a framework for The Black Travel Experience in mid-2021, with working sessions to emphasize collaboration, diversity, and inclusion. “The first steps involved reviewing a variety of Black travel industry resources and inviting trusted voices in the local Black community to collaborate on the project,” said Smith.
As inspiring stories about Black-owned businesses opening or expanding - especially in Downtown Harrisburg and Midtown – come to light, there’s an excitement in a renewal of sorts to the city’s cultural vibe and the community’s support and dedication to continued growth in diversity offerings. The Black Travel Experience brings those assets together in one space and help to tell the story not just of Black-owned businesses but about an entire city and region that’s making strides to be a destination not just for Black travelers but also for new business owners embracing the entrepreneurial spirit and for the overall cultural enrichment of our local community.
The Pennsylvania Tourism Office at the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) recently announced it will use a portion of a federal tourism grant make a $6.8 million investment in new initiatives that will promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in marketing, messaging, and product development. “That announcement reinforces the importance of the project for local and statewide tourism, and we’re proud to be one of the Destination Marketing Organizations leading the efforts to create diversity-focused travel resources,” said Smith.
As with all trails and experiences in the Experience Development initiative, The Black Travel Experience will grow as VHH collaborates with new businesses, identifies interesting stories, and posts new events. The goal is for The Black Travel Experience to have a positive effect on Black travelers, VHH partners in tourism, and the local community.
Previously-launched VHH trails and experiences include the Hershey Harrisburg Brew Barons Beer Trail (free mobile passport), The Hershey Harrisburg Adventure Trail, and the Hershey Harrisburg Chocolate & More Sweet Treat Trail (free mobile passport). ###
Allison Rohrbaugh |Director of Communications & Content
ABOUT VISIT HERSHEY & HARRISBURG
Visit Hershey & Harrisburg (VHH) is the official non-profit 501c6 partnership-based Destination Marketing Organization serving Dauphin County. Visit Hershey & Harrisburg is responsible for developing and executing comprehensive sales, marketing, and communication programs to compete for leisure, business, group, and sporting event travel market segments among leading and national destinations. VHH seeks to generate economic growth and stability through the marketing and promotion of travel to the Hershey Harrisburg region and to coalesce, develop, and expand its hospitality industry, products, and workforce.