NABHOOD annual summit

The Black hospitality industry in South Florida will receive an injection of star power and instruction starting Wednesday.

Almost all the heavy hitters in the tourism industry will congregate during the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers (NABHOOD) annual summit, which begins 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 24 at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay Hotel.

The International African American Hotel Ownership & Investment Summit & Trade Show’s theme is underscored by its opening plenary session, the ABC’s of Hotel Ownership.

This year’s summit will also feature Chris Nassetta, president of Hilton Hotels, who will discuss how he rose to his current position and his commitment to inclusion and diversity.

Stephen Joyce, the former president of Choice Hotels International who is now the current president of DineEquity owner of IHOP and Applebee Restaurants, opens the general session.

The three-day summit is designed to educate attendees on how to become a hotel owner or investor, learn how to sell goods and supplies to the industry, share industry trends, learn how to market to minorities and look at diversity issues affecting the hospitality industry.

“Our primary goal here at NABHOOD is to increase the number of African-Americans developing, managing, operating and owning hotels,” said NABHOOD President Andy Ingraham.

Other speakers at the summit include Ken Green, president of Radisson Hotels; Leslie Hale, president of RLJ Lodging Trust, the second largest hotel company in the U.S. and run by an Black woman who also owns several hotels in Florida; Donahue Peebles, the developer who built the first Black-owned hotel in South Beach and was a finalist to develop the Broward County Convention Center Hotel; Dionisio D’Aguilar, minister of Tourism for the Bahamas; Zane DeSilva, minister of Tourism for Bermuda; Joe Boschuite, tourism commissioner of the U.S. Virgin Islands; Warren Thompson, who owns the largest minority food service company and is a resident of South Florida; Eric Bachelor, another local South Florida resident who is building a Margaritaville in Louisville Ky.; Warren Fields, CEO of Pyramid Hotel Group; and Raoul Thomas, who just opened the Gabriel Miami Curio Collection by Hilton. The modern hotel located in the heart of Downtown Miami will host the opening reception 7 - 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 24.

The APEX Awards Reception and Dinner takes place at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, July 27 at the host hotel, to honor individuals who have contributed to the development of multicultural tourism.

The Marriott Awards luncheon on Thursday will recognize individuals and companies who have demonstrated that they provide opportunities to minorities.

NABHOOD Corporate Dinners on Thursday evening allows new and potential owners to spend time with their preferred hotel brand (eligible attendees must sign up in advance and are based on availability). The Trade Show is on Friday in addition to the “Focus on the Caribbean” when Caribbean government officials and experts will speak about available investment opportunities and incentives.

On Friday, the International Multicultural & Heritage Tourism Summit & Trade Show begins with an opening reception sponsored by the U.S. Virgin Islands aboard the Black-owned South Beach Lady yacht.

Saturday workshops will cover a host of subjects on the development of heritage and multicultural tourism, cruise travel and how diverse communities and minority businesses can play a role on the impact of tourism.

A Multicultural Tourism Town Hall will address the issue of making the industry more inclusive of minorities. Speakers include Dana Young, president of Visit Florida; Elliot Ferguson, chairman of U.S. Travel and president of Destination DC; Ernie Wooden, president of Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board; DeSilva, of Bermuda tourism; and Joe Boschuite, tourism commissioner of U.S. Virgin Islands.

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