Gulf Coast African-American Chamber concerned over tourism plan

September 11, 2013

Admiral LeRoy, Jr., the executive director of the Gulf Coast African-American Chamber, has sent a letter to Escambia County Commission Chairman Gene Valentino over concerns that his organization hasn’t been included in the discussions regarding the transfer of county tourism from the Greater Pensacola Chamber to an independent authority aligned with the local hotel industry.

“The Gulf Coast African American Chamber of Commerce (GCAACC) has a direct stake in who will have control over tourism promotion and how public bed tax dollars are spent,” said LeRoy.

He stated in his letter that the GCAACC has a plan to increase minority visitors (particularly African American visitors) by as much as 10-12% over a two year period of 2014-2015 to the Greater Pensacola area through family reunions, regional conferences and conventions.

LeRoy protested that the majority of the tourism dollars have gone in the past to the Pensacola chamber, Perdido Key chamber and the Pensacola Sports Association–none of which, he asserts, have a plan to attract African-American and other minority visitors.

“The GCAACC must be part of any conversation regarding tourist promotion and the use of public dollars,” he wrote. “The GCAACC is looking directly to the BOCC to completely level the playing field in regards to the disbursement of any public funds for the new direction for tourist promotion. And it should also include an equal number of persons from both the white and black community who understand the importance of “True Diversity and Inclusion” for any public and private endeavor to be successful in the Greater Pensacola community.”

Read Letter to Gene Valentino – Chairman BOCC

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  • joe September 12, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    diversity and inclusion= overused term true meaning, affirmative action

  • grand illusion September 12, 2013 at 7:31 am

    Rick – feel free to pull back the curtain and take a peak.

  • joe September 11, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Right or wrong isn’t the decision to put the bed tax revenue primarily in the hands of the hoteliers because the hoteliers collect the tax revenue. Economics suggests these monies turn over three or four times so other industries benefit.
    The questions I pose are there any hoteliers who are members of the GC chamber of commerce?
    Are those chamber members not involved in the Perdido chamber, PSA and Pensacola Chamber so they have a voice and input through those various groups.
    Can Mr. Leroy further improve his case by stating what the 10-12 % increase represents in dollars?
    The next county commish chairman is Mr. May who has indicated his interest in representing minorities and women so one would expect Mr. Leroy’s concerns to be addressed. Let’s hope he has the facts to back up his requests and there is , as previously posted, even an organized GC chamber.

  • Eric September 11, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    So I’ll keep bringing this up to whoever will listen. The sports museum should go in the Belmont-D region.

  • Me. Reality September 11, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    So the admiral wants to make it a race issue. Getting old.

  • jp September 11, 2013 at 11:30 am

    I would say the bocc should wait and see if there really is a gcaacc before they pass out any checks. The money will be spent advertising our beaches, sports, food etc. That should attract people who like water, sports and eating no matter what race they are.