Tuesday, 05 Dec 2023

Destinations International Launches Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Pilot Program

The Tourism for All program is being piloted by partner Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Destinations International Launches Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Pilot Program

Destinations International, the world's largest resource for official destination organizations and convention and visitors bureaus, has launched its "Tourism for All" pilot program, an equity, diversity and inclusion program created in partnership with the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau, Virginia, to support these organizations in their efforts of becoming more inclusive and accessible.

The Tourism for All pilot program will focus on creating an action plan and EDI pledge for the Charlottesville Albemarle CVB's initiative, developing inclusive tour products, supporting tourism partners in becoming a more welcoming destination and educating traditionally excluded businesses on how to participate in and benefit from tourism.

The pilot program launched in Charlottesville but will launch to all willing destination participants in early 2024, powered in part by Tripadvisor.

The destination's CVB organization began addressing Equity, Diversity and Inclusivity in 2019 after Executive Director, Courtney Cacatian, MTA joined the organization following racial violence in the area in 2017. Sensing a need for change, she and tourism marketing strategist Talia Salem, MTA and Sophia Hyder Hock, now chief diversity officer at Destinations International, came together to create what is now "Tourism for All."

"I'm so pleased to see our community's work over the past couple of years be formalized into a usable model for other destinations," said Cacatian. "Building on the success of our Destiny Award-winning Discover Black Cville and 'Tourism for All' effort, I look forward to seeing how broadening our scope of creating a welcoming space for everyone will bring positive impact to our community, residents, businesses and visitors."

The partnership with Tripadvisor will allow the program to identify trends among tourism partners and identify EDI terms within traveler-generated content that showcase the program's efficacy.

"Everyone should be able to travel anywhere and have an enjoyable travel experience. However, our studies with MMGY focusing on Black and Hispanic travelers and travelers with mobility issues highlight a commonality - our industry has more work to do," said Steven Paganelli, CDME, director of destinations, hotels and OTAs, Americas at Tripadvisor. "The program will rely on actual user testimonials - through both reviews and discussions within Tripadvisor's Forums to track how service levels for underserved travelers change and improve as a result of 'Tourism for All.'"

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