Sojourn Noir, a Black tourism initiative, received $75,000 from the Tourism Grant Program of York County to create inviting spaces and experiences throughout York County where Black travelers feel respected and welcomed.
The grant was approved last month at the Explore York Board of Directors meeting.
Sojourn Noir promotes and seeks to bring Black tourists to York, an area with culture, history, and a diverse community of makers, Explore York said.
According to a piece from MMGY Global, “The Black Traveler: Insights, Opportunities & Priorities,” Black U.S. leisure travelers accounted for more than 500 million overnight stays, contributing more than 100 billion tourism dollars, or 13.1% of the U.S. leisure travel market in 2022.
That same research shows 42% of respondents stated they felt unwelcome in a destination they visited.
“We aim to create a welcoming haven and a culturally representative environment in York County. It is beyond time to change,” said Joanne Wilmore, founder and CEO of Sojourn Noir
Sojourn Noir said it looks to combat negative historical trends and narratives and create new and positive opportunities for Black travelers in York County by encouraging Black travelers to explore experiences, activities and adventures they have been historically denied access or safe passage to and increasing the cultural competency of businesses and tourism bureaus to provide good experiences.
“We support their mission and vision and look forward to a long-standing partnership with Sojourn Noir as we work together to increase tourism equity and inclusion and create funding opportunities within our community,” said Laura Wagner, Explore York president.
Specific outcomes of the Sojourn Noir project will include culturally focused training; targeted, digital marketing; business outreach; and representation at Black leisure travel conferences.