These questions and answers were originally part of a social media series during National Black Travel and Tourism Week in January but we thought they also deserved a spot on our blog. Thank you to Victoria Kageni Woodard of Gusa by Victoria for taking the time to share her thoughts with Explore York

Q:  Can you share your perspective on the significance of National Black Travel and Tourism Week? What does it mean to you?

A:  Gusa by Victoria celebrates cultural diversity through fashion. This ethos closely aligns with the spirit of National Black Travel and Tourism Week. As a local merchant, this observance is deeply significant to me, shining a light on the diverse narratives and experiences Black travelers contribute to our community. It underscores the economic and cultural importance of Black tourism and the value of supporting Black-owned businesses like ours.  This week offers a unique opportunity to highlight our commitment to diversity and inclusivity, potentially attracting both local customers and tourists who value these principles.

Q:  How could this week contribute to fostering a sense of unity and inclusion within the travel and tourism industry?

A:  National Black Travel and Tourism Week, through the lens of a local business like Gusa by Victoria, plays a vital role in fostering unity and inclusion in the industry. This observance celebrates the diverse experiences and cultural richness Black travelers bring, aligning perfectly with our brand’s commitment to cultural diversity and expression. By highlighting the significance of Black tourism and supporting Black-owned businesses, it creates a more inclusive and globally connected travel community. This week not only bridges cultural gaps but also showcases the unique contributions of Black travelers, resonating with our ethos of embracing global cultures and narratives in fashion.

Q:  From your perspective, what challenges do you think the travel and tourism industry might face regarding inclusivity?

A:  In addressing challenges in travel and tourism regarding inclusivity, businesses like Gusa by Victoria play a crucial role. One significant challenge is the underrepresentation of diverse cultures and narratives in mainstream travel experiences. With its focus on cultural diversity and expression through fashion, Gusa By Victoria contributes to overcoming this by highlighting and celebrating global cultures. This approach not only enriches the local community but also sets an example for the tourism industry to follow, showcasing how embracing diverse cultural identities can lead to a more inclusive and authentic travel experience.

Q:  How has Black Travel and Tourism impacted your business?

A:  Black Travel and Tourism has positively impacted Gusa by Victoria, by bringing in visitors who are in the city for business or leisure. Many staying at The Yorktowne Hotel, and exploring the Royal Square District and York City, discover my shop. Their interest is often piqued by the unique cultural diversity we offer, especially in a city with a limited number of Black-owned businesses. This exposure not only expands our customer base but also allows us to serve and showcase our rich cultural heritage to a wider, diverse audience.

Q:  Looking ahead, how do you envision the future impact and evolution of initiatives like National Black Travel and Tourism Week in promoting cultural understanding and unity through travel?

A:  Looking ahead, initiatives like National Black Travel and Tourism Week have the potential to significantly impact businesses like Gusa by Victoria by fostering greater cultural understanding and unity. As more people visit York City, staying in places like the Yorktowne Hotel, and exploring neighborhoods, they’re likely to discover and support local businesses. This can lead to a growing clientele, not just through direct visits but also via referrals, as satisfied customers share their experiences. This ripple effect can enhance cultural awareness, promote unity, and drive economic growth, benefiting both the local community and the travel industry as a whole. Businesses in the community can actively support National Black Travel & Tourism Week by creating incentives such as special offers, gifts, and discounts for visitors. This is particularly impactful when local merchants, including Gusa by Victoria, collaborate with Black-owned businesses during this week. Such partnerships not only draw attention to the diverse range of local merchants in York County but also enhance the overall experience for tourists, encouraging them to explore and support the local economy. This collective effort promotes cultural awareness, unity, and economic growth within the community.

Mannequins inside of Gusa By Victoria

Related: Check out our Cultural Trails program!