Key to funding the organization’s Black Hospitality Initiative, the annual golf tournament has raised more than $3.5 million since its inception

MIAMI — The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) invites golfers and industry partners to tee off in support of the 31st Annual H.O.T. Golf Challenge, Friday, May 17 at the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort and Spa.

The annual Hospitality Open Tournament (H.O.T.), featuring best-in-class golf and executive networking, supports the GMCVB’s Black Hospitality Initiative (BHI), an educational fund aimed at empowering African American students and Blacks of African descent. Since its inception, BHI has raised $3.5 million and awarded 450 scholarships to Black residents pursuing hospitality careers in Miami-Dade County’s visitor industry.

“Our diverse neighborhoods and rich cultural history make us unique among destinations in the U.S.,” said the GMCVB President and CEO David Whitaker. “It’s our priority to lead a workforce that both reflects our community and benefits from tourism’s economic impact.”

This year, BHI introduced new scholarship tracks in Aviation and Sports Management, working with university partners such as Miami Dade College, St. Thomas University, Florida Memorial University and Florida International University to reflect the industry’s evolving growth and provide students additional avenues to explore specialized fields within tourism.

In alignment with these initiatives, the GMCVB is forging close partnerships with key stakeholders such as Miami International Airport (MIA) to facilitate invaluable internship opportunities for students aspiring to enter the aviation sector. In a recently announced partnership with CareerSource South Florida, nine students enrolled in Big Brothers Big Sisters Miami with hospitality industry aspirations now have access to vital mentorship opportunities and scholarships.

“Investing in our local students today provides them a springboard to launch successful careers tomorrow. We want to show them a pathway for advancement,” said Graylyn Swilley Woods, Ph.D., BHI director, noting that golfers and guests at this year’s H.O.T. Challenge will have an opportunity to meet the students and alumni benefiting from their support, many of whom work in the local tourism industry today. “Ultimately our goal is to develop hospitality professionals who continue contributing to the success of Greater Miami and Miami Beach as a world-class destination and create tourism industry leaders who demonstrate to their peers and future generations that these career choices significantly boost our community’s economic growth.”

To register your foursome or learn how you can help support the Black Hospitality Initiative at the H.O.T. Challenge, visit

About the Black Hospitality Initiative Established in 1991, the Black Hospitality Initiative (BHI) emerged in response to a tourism boycott of Greater Miami and Miami Beach, sparked by disparities within the sector. Spearheaded by influential figures within South Florida’s Black community, this initiative introduced a comprehensive 20-point agenda aimed at fostering greater inclusivity in the regional hospitality landscape. Since its inception, the BHI has served as a cornerstone, providing vital scholarships and support to aspiring Black students seeking entry into the dynamic world of hospitality within Miami-Dade County. The GMCVB