*The Black travel movement is growing and Black travel groups are on the rise. But sometimes traveling overseas as an African American can be anxiety-producing with harrowing stories of racism or just not feelin’ the vibe with a white travel group. One person surveyed said it felt like “being a bad penny in a sea full of dimes.”
But Black folks are spending maaaad coin and in 2019 before covid, leisure travel by African Americans hit a whopping $109.4 billion. Now Black travel groups are springing up to relieve the anxiety of traveling alone as an African American and make it a full experience offering parties, comradery, affordability and a sense of security to an overseas trip.
Eric Bennett’s I am Legaci is one of the premier Black travel groups in the country. His Dubai Experience coming up on March 9, 2023, has already attracted close to 400 people.
“It’s our fifth anniversary of this trip,” he tells iHeart radio and EURweb Spotlight host Jazmyn Summers. “We give them a baller experience on an affordable budget including a 5-star luxury hotel, an all-white yacht party on a luxurious mega yacht, camel rides, ATV rides, a tour of the City of Gold, and so much more.”
He says he’s motivated by being able to open up the world to Black folks who otherwise might not take that leap into exploration.
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“I Am Legaci opens up the world to our people, ” he shares. ” You got to get off your block man. I’m from Brooklyn, and a lot of my friends really haven’t left the block and I’m just like, yo, you got to get off the block and see the world, man.”
Now, what’s the difference between an I am Legaci trip and most white travel agents?
“We take you everywhere. Dubai Miracle Garden. We take you to the global village. We take you to the Frame. The Frame is this structure they built a few years ago. It’s a big picture frame. And through the frame you can see old Dubai and new Dubai It’s really dope.”
“We have a fun time in the desert with desert shows. We got belly dancers. We got fire shows, falcon shows.”
The Dubai Experience with I am Legai 2022 (courtesy of Eric Bennett)
“We take people on ATVs. People jump on the camels. Just hold on tight,” Eric laughs. “But don’t be scared. Trust me. It’s a fun time.”
The other thing is the parties.
“No matter where Black folks are we like a good party,” he says. “I try to bring the best DJs, the best entertainment I can. This year I’ve got DJ self from NY’s Power 105 and others. It’s going to be crazy. You get a lot of parties and you still get the experience of the country and the culture. The car show pool party is absolutely crazy. The All White Yacht party is an open bar, it’s food, and desserts. We got live chefs cooking for people on a luxurious mega yacht. No regular travel agent is going to give you that.”
Eric got started in his travel business through a Halloween party.
“They put me onto a Halloween party back in 2004. They wanted me to sell some tickets. I sold 50 tickets in a week. There was no real social media, none of that,” he explains. “And from that time on, I turned into a beast. I’ve been doing places like Miami, New Orleans, Toronto, Barbados. But then five years ago. I said, let me do a Dubai trip and its been growing ever since.”
His next sojourn is to Hawaii.
“You can look forward to pool parties, yacht parties. We have the island tours. We have everything. Submarines. We stay in Honolulu in Waikiki. We’re going on an island tour . It’s just not parties. We do tours, you get into some water sports . I don’t know if I’m going to surf. I can’t even swim, to be honest. But for real, when you go to Hawaii, you better learn how to get in that water,” he jokes.
Some of his favorite spots? “I really love Barbados. That’s like a hidden gem. St. Martin. Turks and Caicos. Everyone is so nice to people. Everything is just beautiful. The water is like a shining jewel.”
He says his greatest fulfillment comes from “giving people an unforgettable, amazing experience. Life is not promised tomorrow, so you got to just live. And it can be romantic. We just had one couple propose on our last trip.”
If you’re interested in starting your own travel business.
Eric advises “It’s not for the weak. You’re coordinating hundreds of people. You have to maintain your composure. You got to try to give the people what they want, and that’s a good time, a great experience. So just keep your composure no matter what happens. Be honest with people and be a man of your word. Take your time, take it easy. Learn the ropes before you get into this. If you don’t learn the ropes and you in the boxing ring, you might get knocked out. You got to negotiate with venues. And in Dubai, for example, you’re negotiating with folks overseas. Different culture, different way of handling things. It’s a little crazy, and it’s very challenging. Lastly you always need help. You always need a good team.”
And if you want to expand your horizons and see more of the world with other people of color consider throwing down with a Black travel group. You can connect with Eric on Instagram at IamLegaci.
Article by iHeart radio personality and EURweb Spotlight host Jazmyn Summers.
You can subscribe to Jazmyn Summers’ youtube and follow her @jaztalk1 on Instagram and Facebook. She is no longer using Twitter due to the increased racism on the site which she believes is a result of Elon Musk’s policies.
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