Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) Marks 30 years of H.O.T. Challenge

MIAMI – The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) is hosting its 30th annual Hospitality Open Tournament (H.O.T) Golf Challenge, Friday, April 28, 2023, a tournament fundraiser benefitting the Black Hospitality Initiative (BHI). Since its inception 30 years ago, the program has raised more than $3.5 million and awarded over 450 scholarships to African Americans and Blacks of African descent who are committed to working in Miami-Dade County’s visitor industry.

Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau Hospitality Open Tournament (H.O.T) Golf ChallengeEstablished in 1991, BHI was created following a tourism boycott of Greater Miami and Miami Beach that focused attention on employment inequities in the industry and was led by key leaders in South Florida’s Black community. This civic action led to a 20-point program where community leaders and activists created initiatives that boosted the role Blacks have in the local hospitality industry. The GMCVB and industry partners provide operational support, staff and resources to assist the BHI in carrying out its mission.

Essential to the impact of the BHI programming is the Hospitality Open Tournament (H.O.T.) Challenge, the initiative’s annual fundraiser. This golf outing brings together industry leaders, community partners and program graduates to participate in an exhilarating day on the links at the Miami Beach Golf Club.

Developing Leaders for Tomorrow

“Investing in our local students today provides them a springboard to launch successful careers tomorrow,” said Graylyn Swilley Woods, Ph.D., director of the BHI. “Developing leaders and showing them a pathway for growth is a critical step in developing hospitality professionals who continue contributing to the success of Greater Miami and Miami Beach as a world-class destination. We are unwavering in our commitment to promote diversity and inclusion in the hospitality industry, and to be a facilitator that creates equitable opportunities for those who need help in our community.”

Workforce to Mirror The Community

“Miami’s rich history and diverse neighborhoods with heritages and cultures that stem from throughout the world makes it unique among destinations in the U.S.,” said David Whitaker, GMCVB president and CEO. “That is why it’s essential for us to not only acknowledge, but to make it our priority to lead efforts that will promote a workforce that reflects the makeup of our community. We are committed to supporting future generations’ access to vital resources that enable BHI program participants to achieve long-term success in the field.”

During the 2022-2023 academic year, a total of 14 students were awarded scholarships by the BHI, each attending a local higher-education institution. The BHI program yields proven results with a total of 80% of BHI undergraduate scholars graduating within 5½ years, a rate nearly 30% higher than the national average of undergraduates from all races and ethnicities. Program graduates have emerged as industry leaders, securing positions with local hotels, cruise line partners and award-winning culinary establishments.

Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau Hospitality Open Tournament (H.O.T) Golf Challenge

“BHI helped alleviate financial pressures for me which allowed me to focus on my education and career- two critical components of personal growth and development,” said BHI graduate Roseline Bien-Aime, senior sales manager at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel. “Having financial stability and security have gone a long way in supporting my efforts to achieve my goals in this wonderful industry.”

With the help of university partners like Miami Dade College, St. Thomas University, Florida Memorial University and Florida International University, the program has been able to grow, adding two new areas of specialization including sports administration and aviation management.

Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau Hospitality Open Tournament (H.O.T) Golf ChallengeFor more information on the Black Hospitality Initiative, please visit the GMCVB website. Scholarship queries should be directed to [email protected]. For more information on supporting the H.O.T. Challenge, visit The event begins on Friday, April 28 at 8 a.m. at the Miami Beach Golf Club (2301 Alton Road, Miami Beach, FL 33140).

The BHI is a division of the GMCVB Multicultural Tourism & Development Department and is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization established by the GMCVB to advance economic participation and open doors of opportunity for Blacks of African descent in the Greater Miami and Miami Beach visitor industry.



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