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Hurtigruten appoints Black Traveler Advisory Board

Pictured aboard Roald Amundsen in Antarctica are, from left, Naledi Khabo, Stephanie M. Jones, Kareem George, Rue Mapp, Martinique Lewis and Anthony Gould (marketing director of Blue World Travel, standing in for Patricia Yarbrough on the cruise)
Hurtigruten appointed six travel professionals to help increase visibility and inclusivity of black travelers in expedition cruising.

Its Black Traveler Advisory Board is currently aboard Roald Amundsen on an Antarctica voyage.

Spearheaded by Anders Lindström, Hurtigruten Group's head of public relations and communications for the Americas, the board was created to provide the intelligence and tools to better reach, engage with and position products for black travelers.

Some goals include identifying black scientists as potential shipboard lecturers, attracting more expedition leaders of color, learning more about unsung black explorers who can be incorporated into the company's expedition cruise itineraries, improving communications and marketing materials, and amplifying career opportunities through the board's networks.

The board includes entrepreneurs, travel advisors, heads of tourism organizations and community influencers.

Chaired by Stephanie M. Jones

Chair Stephanie M. Jones is the founder and CEO of the Cultural Heritage Economic Alliance, Inc., founder of Black Cultural Heritage Tours and the National Blacks in Travel & Tourism Collaborative. Jones serves on the United States Department of Commerce’s Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, Northstar Travel Group’s Black Travel Advisory Board, Newsweek’s Future of Travel Awards Advisory Panel and the Future of Tourism Coalition Advisory Board.

Kareem George is founder and principal of Culture Traveler, LLC, a boutique luxury travel company focused on experiences centered around arts, culture and cuisine. A national director at-large, American Society of Travel Advisors, he also serves on the Travel + Leisure Travel Advisory Board, Signature Travel Network Luxury Committee and the Travel Market Report Editorial Advisory Board.

Naledi Khabo, CEO, Africa Tourism Association, is co-founder of Travel is Better in Color, a platform celebrating diverse storytelling and storytellers across the travel industry, and co-founder of the Collective, a global group of black travel writers and reporters, publicists, magazine owners, TV personalities and industry leaders.

Martinique Lewis, co-founder and president of the Black Travel Alliance, is creator of the ABC Travel Greenbook and the Diversity in Travel Scorecard. Recently named one of the 'most influential people in travel' by both Travel + Leisure and Travelpulse. She is on the Condé Nast Traveler Advisory Board and the influencer manager for NYC&Company.

Rue Mapp, founder and CEO of the national not-for-profit Outdoor Afro, was named a National Geographic fellow in 2019, and in 2021, an AFAR Travel Vanguard Honoree. She sits on the Wilderness Society and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership boards and chairs the California State Park and Recreation Commission by appointment of the governor.

Patricia Yarbrough, president of Blue World Travel, created Festival at Sea, tailored for the African-American cruise traveler. In 1998, she launched Friends of Festival at Sea, created for African-Americans who want to expand their horizons and explore the world.

Trips, stipend and donations

Board members will participate as guests on select Hurtigruten departures that include Antarctica, and the board will be among the first to experience the company's new West Africa cruises.

Each member receives a fee for their particpation, with $5,000 also going to the organization or nonprofit of their choice that works to benefit and empower black travelers or the black travel industry. As such, Hurtigruten has donated to The Black Travel Alliance, The Collective, the National Blacks in Travel & Tourism Collaborative, Outdoor Afro and Spelman College Gordon Zeto Center for Global Education and ASTA.