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.”