Trends in Exploring Music Tourism

Live music tourism in the UK alone is worth $4.6 billion dollars. When you factor in the US and other countries with musical interests, that number evolves into a $2.1 trillion dollar revenue opportunity. An under maximized opportunity at that, given the opinion of the guest speakers, interviewed at NYTF’s Exploring Music Tourism panel.

Moderated by Mita Carriman, Founder of #Globewanders a global dance music and events firm, NYTF panelists included:

  • Fiona Bloom, Founder of, an international music marketing agency
  • Geko Jones, Latin Music tastemaker, producer and DJ of Que Bajo latin music events
  • Justa Lujwangana, Founder of Curious on Tanzania, an experiential travel company
  • Malik Abdul-Rahmaan, Ethnomusicologist, and music producer of “Field Research,” a music series exploring beat sampling from travel destinations, and
  • Jesse Serwer, Editor in Chief of Large-up, a Caribbean music website.

Voices chimed in a discussion-style jam session on everything from understanding a destination’s culture to determining development opportunities to conceptually generating revenue while maintaining authenticity to the music. To kick it off the panelists were asked how they define music tourism, and they unanimously agreed that it is “so much more than a festival.”


Fiona Bloom, Geko Jones, Justa Lujwangana, Jesse Serwer, and Malik Abdul-Rahmaan, Exploring Music Tourism @NYTravFest @Prez13

The session was lively and informative filled with valuable insights and opinion, including:

Rock, steady. Many countries are limited in their idea of money-making genres and focus on mainstream Rock and Pop traditions. It takes patience and dedication to bring them around to realize the full revenue potential that can be generated by extending their musical tastes to include the urban sounds of Hip-Hop, R&B, and Reggae. The key is nurturing authentic relationships with country contacts–cultural attaches and consulates; when they find someone they trust who understands the landscape, the possibilities are limitless.

“The one language that is universal for everyone is music.”
Malik Abdul-Rahmaan

One love. Music is the one constant that emotionally tethers us to each other, cerebrally and culturally.  A traveler’s journey begins with the desire to immerse in the local country flavor, to be authentically present where the music comes alive. The travel experience should mirror that idea.

Coming to America. A member of the audience associated with the Czech Center shared her frustrations with the increased mobility challenges bringing artists to the US under the current administration. Visiting artists must obtain a visa, regardless of their origin country. This process can take up to (6) months and can cost as much as $5K per person. In most cases, the time and cost are unmanageable. If an artist, and even more so for academics, has traveled to one of the 7 banned countries and attempts to enter the US, you are automatically turned away at the border. Any and all social media is actively monitored if there is a statement and/or comment made that can be misinterpreted it has the potential to jeopardize an artist’s opportunity to enter the US.

For your personal discovery, the panelists also shared music recommendations:

  • Angelique Kidjo (Cameroon): Listen
  • Geko Jones (Colombia): Listen
  • Ram (Haiti): Listen
  • Chronixx (Jamaica): Listen
  • Dance Hall Riddims (Jamaica): Listen
  • Field of Research (Malaysia): Listen
  • Diamond Platnumz featuring Ne-Yo (Tanzania): Listen
  • Koku Gonza (Tanzania): Listen
  • The Zombies (UK): Listen
  • Sister Nancy (US): Listen
  • Tune-In Radio Platform for Discovery: Listen

This post originally published to Medium on 4/22/17.

#NYTravFest The People You Meet

I spent a rainy Saturday leaning into all things travel at NY TravFest, a four-day conference dedicated to connecting travel industry professionals and enthusiasts on their passion for seeing the world.

It was my first visit to the Bohemian National Hall. The building’s neo-Renaissance architectural exterior facade a pop of color on an otherwise residential street. It always amazes me how much New York is like an onion, there’s always something to uncover even when you’ve lived here all your life. Home to the Czech consulate, the New York Czech Center, the Bohemian Benevolent & Literary Association, and the Dvorak American Heritage Association — the building was sold by the Bohemian Benevolent & Literary Association to the Czech government for $1 in exchange for the Czech government agreeing to a full renovation. The interior is airy and spacious, filled with open layouts and channels of light. The conference utilized the ballroom, skybox, library and a multi-purpose room across floors 3 through 5.

Ashlea Wheeler a volunteer photographer for NYTF was kind enough to give me the lay of the land. Ashlea moved to New York from Australia and in addition to authoring A Globe Well Traveled, is dabbling in social media marketing.

After reviewing the agenda, I decide to attend the Exploring Music Tourism and Trends in Travel Tech sessions, enjoying a complimentary lunch catered by Go Go Curry USA during the mingle and meet. Festival attendees represented travel and food bloggers, travel tech startups, tourism boards, as well as operators and travel products.

Go Go Curry USA @nytravfest @prez13


Some of the people I met today:

April Hope, content creator of Love, Lust or Bust, a global community for those who love to travel, and travel for love to connect and share tales of adventure, romance, and catfish confessions.

Prashant Kankaria, founder of Locaholic, a personalized restaurant recommendations app. Prashant and his teammates, Jeet and V, were the NYTravFest on-hand tech residents, fielding questions about WordPress, Wix, and SquareSpace.

Bianca Roos is a multilingual travel coach, blogger, and photographer, originally from the Netherlands. She now calls Florida home when not out and about collecting stories for her travel blog, Globing Bianca.

Marian Goldberg a writer and publicist with expert knowledge of educational travel, travel technology, culinary, and cultural travel, especially in East Asia.

Justa Lujwangana, founder of Curious On Tanzania, an experiential travel company specializing in creating authentic Tanzanian experiences. Justa’s table in the exhibition room featured a selection of souvenirs crafted by the Women’s Cooperative of Zanzibar.

Curious On Tanzania souvenir table, @prez13

This post originally published on