Some prominent local members of historically black fraternities and sororities are participating in an effort to stimulate leisure travelers to the area.
They present their favorite places to go in the new Visit Philadelphia: Black Greek Edition video series. The series is part of a year-long effort to bring Philadelphia to the attention of more than two million members of the National Pan Hellenic Council, an umbrella organization of nine fraternities and sororities.
The series was conducted by Visit Philadelphia, the city’s official tourism agency.
âBlack history and culture has long been a part of the Philadelphia experience and a great reason for travelers to visit the area,â said Rachel Ferguson, head of innovation and global diversity at the agency.
She noted that it was here that Octavius ââCatto fought for the right to vote and that music legends Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff developed the Sound of Philadelphia.
âWe thought we could better engage with Philadelphia’s top ambassadors through this initiative,â Ferguson said.
âThey invite their brotherhoods and sisterhood sisters to come to Philadelphia – the place they love – to reconnect. Everything that has happened with the pandemic makes people prioritize and remember the importance of family and friends. “
âIt’s definitely important to have that emotional connection with the travelers and those eminent Philadelphians who are involved, they have that connection to the area,â she continued.
âIt’s definitely a signal to black travelers that Philadelphia is a great place to visit.â
In the video series, NPHC members highlight personalized Philadelphia itineraries for visitors, showcasing their favorite historic attractions, museums, restaurants, shops, concert halls and other businesses, many of which are owned by black people.
Routes include museums such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation, and the National Constitution Center; restaurants including SOUTH, Booker’s Restaurant & Bar and Relish; stores like Blue Sole Shoes, Boyd’s, Dolly’s Boutique & Consignment and TC Unlimited; concert halls like the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, The Mann and The Dell Music Center.
Members of the NPHC appear in locations throughout the city that are important to the black community, including the African American Museum of Philadelphia (AAMP), Mother Bethel AME Church, and the international headquarters of the Kappa Alpha Psi, Inc. .
Vanetta Cheeks Reeder, National President, NPHC and Sigma Gamma Member Rho Sorority, Inc. said Visit Philadelphia was proactive in featuring members of Greek organizations.
âIt was long overdue because of the number of conferences we have and the number of national meetings that have taken place here,â said Reeder, who participated in the video series.
“We brought income to the city collectively with our organizations not only at the national level but with our regional meetings and therefore seeing the Greeks presented was very positive.”
She received positive feedback after sending the video to people in other states.
âThey looked at it and they said ‘Wow some of these things that I didn’t even know. Now I know I have a reason to come to Philadelphia,â Reeder said.
She joins other members of the NPHC such as Kevin Harden Jr., Ross Feller Casey LLP, of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc .; Rev. Lorina Marshall-Blake, Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc .; Charlene Collins, Omega Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority; Harold T. Epps, Diversified Research and Bellevue Strategies, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc .; John Burrell, Kappa Alpha Psi Brotherhood, Inc .; Richard Lee Snow, United Negro College Fund, Kappa Alpha Psi Brotherhood; former City Councilor Blondell Reynolds Brown, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc .; Cherelle Parker, City Council Member, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Aunyea Lachelle, NBC10, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
Tumar Alexander, City of Philadelphia, Phi Beta Sigma Brotherhood, Inc .; Rashon Howard, Shon, LLC, Nu Sigma Chapter, Phi Beta Sigma Brotherhood; Also in the series are City Council Member Katherine Gilmore Richardson, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and Bishop Dwayne Royster, Power Interfaith, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc.
The new marketing effort comes as the black travel market was booming before the pandemic. A study created by MMGY Travel Intelligence indicates that black American leisure travelers spent $ 109.4 billion on travel in 2019.