Travel influencer views Jacksonville as international destination

Martinique Lewis will include urban Jacksonville locations in articles and social media posts geared towards black tourists leading up to Juneteenth.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In May the NAACP issued a travel advisory for the state of Florida. The organization did this after what it called “aggressive attempts to erase black history and restrict diversity in Florida schools” by Governor Ron DeSantis.

While this advisory is meant to keep black people safe and inflict economic impacts on the state, it may also be damaging to black owned businesses that rely on tourism dollars.

It’s summertime across the country, millions of Americans are going to travel and many of them planned to come to Florida… and then the NAACP issued a travel advisory against the state.

But that’s not keeping everyone away from the Sunshine State.

“Every time I went somewhere new it was shocking,” said Martinique Lewis, “tons of favorite moments.”

Lewis is a diversity and travel consultant who published the ABC Travel Greenbook in 2020 with the goal of highlighting black communities that can become travel destinations. Her latest visit was Jacksonville, but not the location that may come to mind first.

“I didn’t go to the beaches at all,” said Lewis, “actually I prefer it that way because that’s what people already know. As a travel content creator I want to tell the stories of places that are lesser known.”

Lewis plans to release a series of articles and social media video content leading to Juneteenth that features places like White Harvest Farms on Moncrief Road.

“It’s such a major player in how Jacksonville will change because it’s there,” said Lewis, “I really enjoyed that, it was the first time I’ve ever seen bees, the first time I’ve ever met a black bee keeper, it was truly inspiring.”

Lewis has an international following on social media and released a documentary on Disney+ earlier this year based on the 1940 book The Negro Motorist Green Book. While she understands why a travel advisory was created, she thinks there may be unintended consequences.

“It hurts black owned businesses the most,” said Lewis, “and that’s why the Black Travel Alliance was created and I do what I do in the content creator space to help amplify black owned businesses. The way I’m able to combat it on my own is to tell the story of these black owned businesses. I will continue to use my voice to help combat people’s fears of traveling to Florida.”

More information about Martinique Lewis, the ABC Travel Green Book and the Black Travel Alliance can be found here:

To learn more about the Clara White Mission and White Harvest Farms visit this website: