In 1987, U.S. Congressman 2nd Congressional District of Pennsylvania Dwight Evans and A. Bruce Crawley, two African American men serving on the board of directors of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), realized that Philadelphia was missing opportunities in the minority meetings, conventions and tourism market. Acknowledging that Philadelphia, a city rich in multicultural history, could benefit from this overlooked segment of the population, the PHLCVB created the Minority Advisory Council (MAC).
MAC immediately commissioned a study and found the existence of a large African-American market across the nation that booked conventions and meetings annually. A later study found that African-American conventions and tourists represent a $25 – $35 billion market.
Three years after the creation of MAC, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Travel and Tourism Administration, designated Philadelphia the No. 1 city for minority tourism. Other cities, seeing Philadelphia’s success reaching a previously untapped market, wanted to learn how it was done. In the next few years, Philadelphia demonstrated how to market to minority populations to a number of cities.
In 1994 MAC changed its name to the Multicultural Affairs Congress to reflect its new goals, focus and a more comprehensive marketing strategy. In the 24 years since its inception, MAC has managed to market Philadelphia successfully as a multicultural destination. Beyond the large African-American market that was first tapped, MAC has extended its reach to include the Latino and Asian markets for meetings, conventions and tourism. MAC’s increased efforts to reach the Latino market resulted in Philadelphia being named one of the top 10 cities for Hispanic travelers.
Further extending its umbrella, MAC is now PHL Diversity.