BlackGirlTravel.com's "Fly Girls" Can Expect Even Greater Travel Opportunities and Destinations in 2011 and beyond.
Fleacé Weaver, savvy founder of BlackGirlTravel.com, is traveling all expenses paid to Milan, Italy on Thursday, February 17, by special invitation of the Italian government. Weaver will be discussing ways to grow her popular Italian tours. Currently her tours contribute over $500,000 annually to the Italian economy.
Widely known as the "Pied Piper of African American Female Travel," Weaver, a former runway model, has taken tour groups to Italy and other destinations since 2006. Her mission is to expose black women to the beauty of the world, and the world to the beauty of black women: a group she affectionately refers to as her "Fly Girls" and the "traveling sisterhood."
Excited about this invitation, Weaver states, "One of my goals during this visit is to develop a strategic alliance with the women of Italy. I'm excited about the possibility of creating an economic exchange between Italian and African American women." Several new unique travel opportunities are also on Weaver's agenda, including acquiring information on a dual-country ski excursion for the adventurous at heart, and a new slower paced summer Italian experience for educators and mothers of school-age children.
Weaver launched BlackGirlTravel.com with her signature tour, "Bella Italia," the popular 10-day whirlwind tour of Italy, for both the young and mature, and the mature and young at heart. "When I first thought about creating this tour, every travel professional said it couldn't be done. I was told by at least 11 companies that my vision would be impossible to execute based on the itinerary that included six cites, culture, shopping, and robust nightlife." She proved them wrong! Her 6th annual tour in September 2010 had 68 travelers and left behind 10 on a waiting list. Weaver's tours are a reflection of her personality: youthful and energetic. "Most people think inside the box when it comes to travel, because it's easier," she says. "The way we do things is unorthodox, but it works. We are creating a new model."
BlackGirlTravel.com offers personal services, start to finish, and an unforgettable travel experience for like-minded women. While targeted to single Black women, both married and single women join her traveling sisterhood. Weaver's "Fly Girls" have ranged from 21 to 62 years old, crossing age and economic lines. "Our travelers come from all walks of life, these are not elitist trips. The secretary that makes sacrifices to pay for her trip and a top-level executive would feel comfortable on our tours," says Fleacé.
The BlackGirlTravel.com experience starts with the first phone call. Weaver personally interviews each participant prior to sign-up to ensure the most cohesive group possible. This process also helps to manage exception, as 80% of the ladies are first time international travelers. The company also has a very personalized roommate matching service for solo travelers.
Current destinations with spaces still available in 2011 include two Luxury Tours: "April in Paris" and South Africa (November), and several Mid-Range Tours: "Bella Takes Rome" (Rome/Amsterdam - June), "Under the Tuscan Sun" (Florence/Chianti/Venice - June), "Girls Gone Mild" (South Beach/Jamaica - December), and the signature tour, "Bella Italia" (Venice/Naples/Pompeii/Capri/Sorrento - September). Visit BlackGirlTravel.com for more destinations and details.
In her book, Don't Bring Home a White Boy published by Simon & Schuster, Karyn Langhorne Folan writes about BlackGirlTravel.com: "I think Nikki Doughty said it best: for what we spend in shoes, we could have an experience that completely changes the way we see ourselves and what we know about the wide world..." (p. 228). A comment to Weaver by a member of the Italian Department of Tourism affirms this: "You are such a passion; kudos for making your program so successful. You connect to Italy and your girls connect to our country through your passion."
Of course, Weaver agrees. "I think it's important that everyone starts thinking globally. When you start traveling outside of the States, it opens up your mind and options. Through international travel I have learned to think more globally by questioning my belief system and the cultural influences of the United States. I know have a better sense of who I am as a citizen of the world. It is okay to think differently, and I want more black women to experience this."
Weaver anticipates a productive trip to Milan and great results that will benefit both her travelers and the people of Italy. Her entrepreneurial pursuits include BlackWeekly.com, which boasts more than 32,000 members in the greater Los Angeles area, and Sistas Without Borders, a non-profit organization that benefits the children of destinations where she travels.
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