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African-American tourism conference moves forward, in midst of NAACP economic boycott

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

One out of every ten jobs in South Carolina is supported by the state's tourism industry, according to research from the U.S. Travel Association.  

Community activist and consultant Kwadjo Campbell is working to increase those statistics by creating a niche market for African-Americans in the state tourism industry.

"There's a major potential there that's under-utilized," he said.

Campbell is working with the Wando-Huger Community Development Center to host the 3rd Annual African-American Tourism Conference at The Avery Research Institute in Charleston.

"There are African-American businesses, there are African-American festivals, there are African-American attractions, that aren't getting the resources that they need to develop and to grow," Campbell said.

"We need people to get together and strategize, plan, and organize to make that happen."

One group that won't be in attendance is the Lowcountry Chapter of the NAACP.  In 1999, the NAACP called for economic sanctions against South Carolina, in an attempt to remove the Confederate flag from the Capitol Dome.

"That pretty much puts us in a dilemma, because we see the good," said Chapter President Dot Scott.

"In fact, we wish them success in what they're doing, but it's not something we encourage."

Campbell said the conference supports businesses that already exist, giving other communities the tools they need to tap into the state's billion dollar tourism industry.

"There are all these existing African American festivals and attractions that are operating. I have no hesitation to see that they grow, and develop, and that they get the attention that they so rightly deserve."

The African-American Tourism Conference will be held September 27th.

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