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To the Editors of American Demographics:

I work for a European Tour Company and would like to learn more about African Americans who visit Europe. What are their top three European destinations? I would really appreciate any help you can give me with this information as I am finding it very difficult to find data regarding travel by African Americans.

Claudine P. Moore

Brooklyn, N.Y.

Dear Claudine:

It's not surprising that you were unable to locate helpful stats on travel by African Americans. Besides the Minority Traveler report, published in 2001 by the Travel Industry Association of America, a Washington, D.C.-based lobby group that focuses on domestic travel, not much is available on this group's travel behavior. The Department of Commerce's Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, which compiles statistics on U.S. residents who travel overseas unfortunately does not break out its data by race.

To gain a better sense of how many African Americans travel abroad and where they tend to visit, we turned to New York City-based market research firm Mediamark Research, Inc. (MRI) for help. Blacks, according to their responses to an MRI survey, are less likely than the average American adult to travel abroad — which might explain the dearth of data on their foreign travel practices. While 1 in 4 adults has visited a foreign country over the last three years, only 15 percent of black adults (3.7 million) roamed beyond our borders, according to MRI's sample of 52,000 consumers.

Among blacks who travel abroad, the propensity to travel to foreign countries is highest among Baby Boomers. The itch to explore the globe also intensifies as education and income levels rise.

African Americans who journey abroad have tended, up to now, to choose nearby destinations — mostly tropical isles in the Caribbean, such as Barbados, Jamaica, the Bahamas and Virgin Islands. According to Solomon Herbert, publisher and editor-in-chief of Black Meetings & Tourism magazine, the Bahamas have been a favored destination ever since civil rights leader and legislator Adam Clayton Powell helped popularize the islands after he retired to Bimini in 1971. The tourism bureaus in the islands have devoted a significant share of marketing dollars to attract African Americans. Additionally, there's a cultural connection: For many African Americans, a visit to the Caribbean serves as a way to explore their heritage, without the more expensive, and lengthy, trip to Africa.

For travel to Europe, the three most popular destinations among blacks are the United Kingdom, France and Germany. By comparison, note that only 7 percent of MRI's black respondents said they visited England in the previous three years, while 21 percent said they had hopped over to Jamaica in the same time period.

Rest and relaxation are the reasons African Americans travel abroad. Two-thirds of black travelers who leave the U.S. do so on vacation. Another 20 percent cite personal reasons, such as visiting family. Only 9 percent say they go abroad for business.

Black Americans like to travel in style. They are more likely to fly first class than other Americans. The journey taken, it seems, is as important as the destination itself.


To the Editors of American Demographics:

I would like to learn whether technology will ultimately change the way we work. Specifically, in the future, will more people work from remote locations?

John Martens

Institute of Real Estate Management


Dear John:

If past trends are any indication, it's highly probable that more people will work from remote locations in the future.

The number of teleworkers — a group the International Telework Association and Council (ITAC ) defines as individuals who work at home or other remote locations during normal business hours, as opposed to only after hours or weekends — has been growing steadily.

A projected 23.5 million Americans will work at home during business hours at least one day per month in 2003, up nearly 40 percent from 16.8 million in 2001. That doesn't include the 23.4 million teleworkers who were self-employed, up 18 percent from 19.9 million, according to the American Interactive Consumer Survey conducted by The Dieringer Research Group, a Milwaukee-based market research firm. There is some overlap between the groups. Because some survey respondents work for an employer and run a business on the side from home, employed staff and self-employed numbers should be treated as separate totals.

Several factors contribute to the growth in the number of people who forgo face time at the office. For starters, there are financial incentives for corporations to allow more workers to toil away at home. Real estate constitutes the largest capital cost that companies face. In the 1990s, as downsizing gained momentum, businesses reduced their overall office space needs by allowing employees whose jobs didn't require them to be at the office to be productive, to work off site. Sales associates often worked from home, staying connected through their laptops.

In the early years, information-based employees slogged away at home under adverse conditions. Lethargic Internet connections hampered productivity. But as broadband's availability expands, nothing holds these workers back. A 2002 survey of dial-up users and broadband teleworkers, sponsored by AT&T and the ITAC, showed that teleworkers with faster connections tend to carry out certain kinds of team-oriented tasks more frequently, including sending large files, using groupware and communicating via e-mail with coworkers or clients. Broadband, which is always on, empowers virtual team members to collaborate almost seamlessly, regardless of their location.

Clearly, technology has already begun to change the way we work. Remote connection software, such as PCAnywhere, and wireless devices, including Blackberries and personal digital assistants, are among the many innovations that are transforming how we work today. “I gave at the office� takes on a whole new meaning when workers can work anytime and virtually anywhere.


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