December 8, 2022

New initiatives launch to promote diverse leadership in travel

A new initiative called Tourism Diversity Matters has launched with the goal of inspiring authenticity…

New initiatives launch to promote diverse leadership in travel

A new initiative called Tourism Diversity Matters has launched with the goal of inspiring authenticity and inclusive leadership throughout the tourism and events industry.

Based on a collective impact model, Tourism Diversity Matters aims to address the blind spots of ethnic disparities and provide decision-makers in the tourism and events industry with access, resources and tactics to develop more effective diversity and inclusion strategies that will help engage and retain a diverse workforce.

Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination D.C., serves as chairman of the board; Mike Gamble, president and CEO of SearchWide Global, is Tourism Diversity Matters’ founder; and Greg DeShields, executive director of PHLDiversity, serves as executive director.

Founding partners include ConferenceDirect Foundation, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau and SearchWide Global.

“Addressing racism should impact how you lead – it’s an American issue,” Ferguson says.

“As many are confronting these issues for the first time, we can’t turn a blind eye and we can’t turn back. The pandemic has forced us to slow down and focus on being human. We need to be comfortable with uncomfortable conversations and having these discussions not only at home, but also in the workplace.”

Tourism Diversity Matters is based on four guiding pillars: apprenticeship programs; workforce development; diversity, equity and inclusion; and research and data.

The platform’s goal is to sustain and expand by collaborating with associated organizations and industries and notable research institutions to develop impactful solutions for all parties involved.

“Tourism Diversity Matters is a dedicated resource focused solely on creating long-term solutions through complete industry engagement and participation,” says Gamble.

“The intention is to not replace existing good work happening in this area, but rather to shine a light on it, and add value and insight where needed.”

WiHTL’s Ethnic Minority Future Leaders in Hospitality, Travel & Leisure Program

Elsewhere, Women in Hospitality, Travel & Leisure (WiHTL) has launched a new leadership program to support ethnic minority future leaders working in hospitality, travel and leisure.

The cross-industry leadership program, which launched last week with a virtual event produced in partnership with McDonald’s U.K. and Ireland, is designed to support high potential ethnic minority future leaders with their progression into more senior roles.

According to WiHTL’s 2020 Annual Report, 82.5{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5} of companies have no Black, Asian and minority ethnic leaders at the board level. More than 40{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5} of hospitality, travel and leisure companies have no Black, Asian and minority ethnic representation at the direct report level, and more than 80{d54a1665abf9e9c0a672e4d38f9dfbddcef0b06673b320158dd31c640423e2e5} of companies have no Black, Asian and minority ethnic leaders on their executive committee.

Forty high potential ethnic minority leaders from brands including Airbnb, Hilton, InterContinental Hotels Group and Virgin Atlantic are taking part in WiHTL’s Ethnic Minority Future Leaders in Hospitality, Travel & Leisure Program.

In addition to a reverse mentoring program where participants will mentor a senior leader from a different organization, the program also includes sessions for the line manager of each participant.

The first part of the program will run with monthly sessions on a range of leadership development themes through June 2021.

* Check out PhocusWire’s New Reality With… interview with Elliott Ferguson below.

New Reality With… Elliott Ferguson of Destination D.C.