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2019 SC African American Tourism Conference: Branding and Marketing to A New Age

(Charleston, SC) Greenville based company, JC & Associates, headed by husband and wife team of Kwadjo and Rashida Jeffers-Campbell are coordinating their 7th conference focused on the growth of $2.4 Billion dollar African- American Sector of the Tourism Industry in SC. An explosive day of strategy, collaboration, and synergy as some of the industry’s movers and shakers melt with stakeholders from African American tourism to create a platform that will reap South Carolina economic benefits for years to come. They coordinate a conference on behalf of their client, The Wando- Huger, CDC.

We are filled with pride and joy as we announce our Seventh (7th) annual African-American Tourism Conference. Since our initial conference, we have held ourselves accountable to the community by cultivating the growth of the African- American niche of the Tourism Industry in South Carolina.

The tourism industry in South Carolina generates about $17 billion dollars for the state’s economy. It is our goal to develop the African-American sector of South Carolina’s tourism industry so that African-American communities are able to reap more of the benefits from its multi-billion dollar impact.  

Currently, the Economic Impact of African- American Tourism is:

  • $2.4 Billion Dollars
  • $26,300 Jobs Created
  • 12% of annual visitation to South Carolina

A 5% increase would produce the following in added economic impact:

  • $118.6 Million
  • 1,315 New Jobs

In order to increase these benefits, the community must be educated on the African American tourism industry in South Carolina. Our conference aims to educate the community by:

  1. Informing Tourism Industry officials about the benefits of supporting and promoting the African-American sector of the industry through public policy.
  2. Educating residents from historically disadvantaged communities about the resources available to them for businesses & non-profits servicing this industry. 
  3. Strategize on the future and growth of the African- American sector of the Tourism Industry, focusing on the goals and objectives set at the annual Think Tank.

This information about South Carolina’s African-American tourism industry will be discussed in multiple sessions including:

Opening Session-Successful African American Tourism Brands

Panel: Juneteenth Celebration – Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park/ Red Rice Day VisitGullahGeechee.com – Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor Commission

Is your tourism event or program ready to expand to the next level? This session will give you first-person advice from successful South Carolina tourism brands that are using local stories of foodways, history, and culture to be tourism drivers.

Digital Marketing – Social Influencers & Online Profiles (Fireside Chat)

Panel: Black Southern Belle: Social Influencer and ForeSight Communications: Google Partner

Are you ready to get more viral attention for your history or culture endeavor? This session will give you online marketing tips and best practices on how to develop (and improve) your digital footprint.

Resource Development for Entrepreneurs”

(Upstairs Classroom)

Panel: LDC, SCORE/Small Business Development Center/MBE Office City of Charleston/GCRA/SC Community Loan Fund

Learn about local and state resources to help you advance your business and nonprofits including business and financial planning, grants, low-interest loan programs, and information concerning tax accommodation programs- over $3,000,000 in grants for tourism-related and cultural arts programming.

Resource Development for Nonprofits”

Panel: City of North Charleston/ County of Charleston/ City of Charleston/ Berkeley County

Learn about local and state resources in the form of tax accommodation programs- over $3,000,000 in grants for tourism-related and cultural arts programming. Funds can be used to market and promote your cultural arts or tourism-related event to out of town markets.

Resource Development: Spoleto & Cultural Heritage Tourism

Facilitator: Latesha Smith

What goes into planning surrounding an impactful and successful Cultural Heritage Tourism Event or Program? Come and hear how Spoleto is working to present a fascinating story and elements of its broader messages of faith/religion/resilience in one of your upcoming workshops or sessions covering heritage tourism. The festival next year will feature a commissioned opera about the life and times of Omar Ibn Said, an enslaved Muslim. Said was brought to Charleston from Futa Toro (present-day Senegal) in 1807. His mastery of Arabic seen in his manuscript is what historians use to set his autobiography apart from others.

Cross-Marketing Strategies – Minimize Spending & Maximize Brand Awareness

Facilitator: Courtney Young

Is your marketing budget tight? Does your tourism program need a boost? This session will give ideas and examples of how to develop effective partnerships that will raise your brand awareness and not bust your budget.

The Black Travel Movement

Facilitator: Tonita Perry

Panelist- Dionna Everett, Hey World, What Else!

Learn about black travel groups. These companies work hard to provide experiences that are tailored to a more diverse set of travelers; they change the narrative about what travelers look like and how they travel. When millennials hit the road they want unique experiences, as well as cultural and authentic encounters. Along the way, millennials will share their experiences on social media and rely heavily on user reviews to make travel decisions. Brand loyalty is typically low. Tapping into these desires and habits is crucial to securing younger travelers.

Luncheon & Keynote


SCPRT talks about their TAG Grant (marching grant); How to Get Your Marketing Funded

Luncheon Catered by:

Hannibal’s Kitchen

Local African- American Owned Caterer- Featuring Authentic Gullah Dishes

Blake Street, an anonymous lane in the East Side neighborhood, bounded by public housing projects and industrial port operations, certainly doesn’t draw an affluent crowd to its door. Hannibal’s Kitchen should. “This evolution of tradition, which caters to the tastes of its customers, makes Hannibal’s somewhat different from humdrum purveyors of red rice, collards, and chicken. In a way it makes them more real, and more likely to generate the next culinary myth of the Lowcountry.” Charleston City Paper Restaurant Review- Jeff Allen 11/08/06

Closing Session- Think Tank Planning Session

Moderator- Rashida Jeffers- Campbell, JC & Associates

Strategic Planning Session focused on developing objectives and action plans for the Key Goals of the Tourism Conference and the African American Tourism Advisory Council. These goals include 1) Increase investment from Public & Private Sector 2) Promotion & Marketing and 3) Product Development

Gullah Geechee Themed Tour

Whichever tour you select, you’ll see, hear & experience an inclusive look at one of America’s premier destinations with emphasis on area African American history & culture.

Gullah Tour: As the name implies, the Gullah language, native to the Charleston area, is featured on much of the tour. Of course, if Gullah was spoken throughout the tour, you would not understand, nor would you enjoy the beautiful and interesting sites of Charleston. Your tour guide, Alphonso Brown, is a native of Rantowles, SC, a rural community of Charleston, and is fluent in the Gullah language and familiar with many of the Gullah customs.

Sites & Insights Tours: Explore Charleston’s ubiquitous African American History & Gullah

Geechee Culture with Sites and Insights Tours, Inc., departing daily from the Charleston Visitor Center. Let’s travel through the streets of downtown Charleston, or venture off the Charleston peninsula to visit two of our nearby Sea Islands – James & Johns – or perhaps you’d enjoy the unique blend of taking in both downtown & the two Sea Islands. 

Featured Presenters

Keynote Speaker- Luncheon

Dawn Dawson- House, Director of Corporate Communications for South Carolina Parks, Recreation and Tourism helps shape and deliver the agency’s voice and message about its complex public service to multiple constituencies, including the general public; the parks, recreation and tourism industries; government and elected officials, and the media.

She serves as a spokeswoman for the agency and publishes the monthly Tourism Today e-newsletter that communicates key metrics on tourism’s impact on South Carolina’s economy and general news about SCPRT. She also organizes special media events, public speaking appearances, and press conferences.

Dawson-House also fills the agency’s ex-officio seat on the South Carolina African American Heritage Commission, where she offers counsel on leveraging the distinguished story of African American heritage to help grow tourism. One of the Commission’s major tourism projects is the “Green Book of South Carolina: A Travel Guide to S.C. African American Cultural Sites”. It is considered the nation’s first travel guide for African Americans.

Micheil Perry, Founder, and Editor-In-Chief of BlackSouthernBelle.com wanted to create an online and offline resource of lifestyle inspiration for African -American women in the South. So she did! In 2015, Mrs. Perry and her team expanded Black Southern Belle and developed an editorial division, ambassador program, online store, and the Black Southern Belle Collective. Black Southern Belle has been featured in numerous outlets, including Washington Post, Southern Living, HGTV,   Essence,  Black Enterprise, Draper James, Apartment Therapy, Brides, Today, Levo League, AOL Lifestyle Collective, and more. We have also done marketing campaigns with Home Depot, Evite, Olay, Pure Leaf, American Express, Gildan, Walmart, and various other Fortune 500 companies.

ForeSight Communications (FSC) is a full-service public relations and marketing company that specializes in developing diversity, inclusion, and equity campaigns. Since 2005 FSC has worked with more than 300 small businesses, government agencies, aviation authorities and travel/ tourism authorities, domestically and abroad.. FSC offers strategic planning, brand development, public outreach, graphic design, email marketing, market research and evaluations, staff training and event management.

Courtney Young, President/CEO of ForeSight Communications is an innovative and strategic public relations and marketing professional, with deep roots in the South Carolina Sea Islands and Gullah-Geechee Communities.

She has built her career developing strategic marketing plans, public outreach campaigns, designing corporate VIP events and advising executive management teams on effective communication strategies.  She is skilled at creating on-target and well-organized communication counsel that exceeds her clients’ expectations. 

Under her leadership the company’s clients have been recognized by various organizations throughout the United States and across the globe including National Geographic Travel, the Southeast Tourism Society, the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, the National Parks Services, the White House Young American Project – Initiatives to Model and the Botswana Ministry of Tourism.  

Carmen Young, Branded Content Manager for ForeSight Communications is

passionate about helping businesses understand and leverage the power of online media to grow their brands. She works closely with clients to develop their voice through website content, social media posts and strategic partnerships that align with their brand. By staying  “in the know” on all new technologies, trends, and applications related to online brand management has helped clients improve their brands on average by 200%. Since 2012 Carmen has worked with more than 100 business brands in travel, tourism and government contracting.

Ahmad Ward, Executive Director for Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park, is responsible for developing and implementing a master plan, that will recreate this historic town of Mitchelville as an interpretative site on Hilton Head Island, SC. The Historic Mitchelville Freedom Park will convey the important story of Mitchellville, the first self-governed town of formerly enslaved people in the United States, to visitors from around the country. 

Prior to this position, Ward spent fifteen years leading the Education Department at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Birmingham Alabama. It is there where he honed his expertise in telling the story of civil and human rights in America, with a focus on historic analysis and application to current social justice issues.  With Masters-level training and years of experience in exhibition design, he brings a strong understanding of storytelling and the importance of technology in interpretation. 

Ward is a native of Elizabeth City, North Carolina. He received a BA in Art from Elizabeth City State University and an MA in Museum Studies from Hampton University. He is a member of Rotary of Hilton Head Island Club and the Southeastern Museums Conference Jekyll Island Management Institute (JIMI) Selection Board. He is a former member of the Smithsonian Affiliates Advisory Board.

Heather L. Hodges, Executive Director joined the Gullah Geechee Corridor after serving as Pro Bono Counsel for almost a decade at Neighborhood Legal Services of the District of Columbia.  She is an experienced, non-profit executive and attorney with significant experience in program design, resource development, fundraising, community engagement, communications, board relations, organizational development, capacity building, advocacy, and strategic planning. An honors graduate from the Tulane University School of Law, Hodges began her legal career in private practice in Washington, D.C., as an Associate at the international law firm of Arnold & Porter LLP (now Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer) and then as Counsel with Crowell and Moring LLP.  She was the recipient of a 2010-2011 Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship from Georgetown Law School where she did fieldwork exploring challenges to providing access to justice in Belize and organized programs on international human rights law.   Ms. Hodges is also a documentary photographer who specializes in African, Afro-Latino and Hispanic culture with an emphasis on contemporary and traditional music and dance culture.  She has traveled extensively including to Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, to study traditional Afro-Cuban dance; to La Sabana, Venezuela, for the Fiesta de San Juan; to Dakar, Senegal, to explore its contemporary music scene; and to Belize for Garifuna Settlement Day.  She has also documented the roots of Delta blues and the Gathering at Geechee Kunda Festival in Georgia.  Her photographs have been exhibited in Washington D.C. and London.

Tonita Perry

Tonita R. Perry, APR has 24 years of diversified experience in the public relations/marketing communications field. Her qualifications include having worked in the nonprofit, public, and private sectors in such industries as travel and tourism, sports/entertainment, and issues management, in addition to her holding positions in public relations, marketing communications, and currently, entrepreneur. A public relations strategist since 1998, Ms. Perry has always specialized in integrated public relations strategies for individuals, organizations, corporations, government, and concepts. Dedicated to creating innovative ways of placing clients in the spotlight of the public eye through perceptual management of reputation, in 2005, she decided to open the doors of Eaddy Perry & Associates, Inc., a boutique agency, after successfully consulting part-time for seven years.

Dionna Everett, Hey World, What Else!


The LDC is able to provide a variety of loan programs that can assist with most needs a small business could have. The LDC and its programs are structured to address the needs of underserved segments of the community. The LDC participates in many entrepreneurship activities with community resources, such as SCORE, the Small Business Development Center, and the Women’s Business Center.

SCORE                                                                                                                             Small Business Development Center

The Charleston Area SBDC provides one–on–one consultation to prospective and existing business owners. Assisting them to analyze business opportunities, develop business plans and strategies, and create small business loan packages, PTAC, manufacturing and industrial. These services are offered at no charge to the consumer and are available by appointment only. All services rendered by the Small Business Development Center are completely confidential.

MBE Office City of Charleston

The MWBE office assists potential entrepreneurs and existing small business owners through Assisting potential entrepreneurs to identify and evaluate resources related to the start-up of his or her business, aiding existing business owners in the capacity of business growth and expansion, providing access to potential economic and financial opportunities through the use of business databases,


Economic Development Loans providing small business loans up to $25,000 to encourage economic development activities and promote opportunities for employment.

SC Community Loan Fund

We provide capital for the financing of community business by providing loans up to $1,000,000 to finance acquisition, predevelopment, infrastructure, construction, renovation, leasehold improvements, machinery and equipment, working capital, and permanent financing business costs, we support local economies.


Wando- Huger CDC

A Community Development Corporation task with the economic, social, and cultural development of the Cainhoy community. The organization has restored the Keith School which serves as a museum and community meeting space. The organization is also dedicated to the historic preservation of the Cainhoy community through education and self- sustainable development initiatives such as affordable housing.

African- American Tourism Advisory Council

Group meets annually at the SC African American Tourism Conference to decide on goals and objectives for the upcoming year in the advancement of this niche within the Tourism Industry. The group is comprised of stakeholders from within the Tourism Industry, both public and private.

JC & Associates

Economic, Planning, and Political Development firm dedicated to building self- sustainable communities. The firm provides planning services for Wando- Huger, CDC.

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The MinorityEye is a news and information aggregator that curates the voices, thoughts and perspectives of minority writers, bloggers, authors, reporters, columnists, pundits, consultants and thought leaders as well as those who write about minorities and issues that impact people and communities of color.

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