Dr. Gaynelle Henderson
Dr. Gaynelle Henderson, President of Henderson Travel Services, has been chosen to serve as the Mistress of Ceremony for the 2016 African Diaspora Tourism Awards Gala taking place on August 27th in Atlanta. A desirable person to serve as Mistress of Ceremony along with noted celebrity Afemio Omilami as the Master, Dr. Henderson brings with her a star-like style of her own. Not only because of the big-named people that she has rubbed shoulders with in the tourism industry, nor is it because of her expertise in African and African Diaspora Tourism, though these experiences count. But moreover, she is the perfect person to serve as the Mistress of Ceremony because of her pleasing personality, charming demeanor and warm, inviting spirit. Known as just Gaynelle to many in black travel, her professional and personal qualities have helped to make her an “African and African Diaspora darling” of the industry.
As the daughter of the “First Family” of African Travel, Gaynelle’s career path was cut out for her during her childhood when her parents, Jake and Freddye Henderson launched what became the first full-service, fully appointed African American - owned and operated travel agency in the U.S. in 1955. Their goal for Henderson Travel Services (HTS) was to expose African American travelers to the freedoms abroad that they could not enjoy at home during that time, and to introduce them to the people, cultures and places of the world, especially Africa.
Gaynelle's parent's company was the first agency to pioneer travel to Africa sending their first group of American tourists to Ghana in 1957 to witness and participate in the independence celebration of The United Republic of Ghana, the first African country to gain its independence. This trip was very significant for African Americans to experience because the Civil Rights Act was not in place, and thereby black freedoms were not the order of the day. Education through Exposure became the Hendersons' motto, and cultural tours to Africa became their specialty.