Destinations International has
unveiled an equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) pilot program in partnership with Tripadvisor and the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau in Virginia.
“Tourism for All” will launch in Charlottesville and then open
to all destinations in early 2024.
The program aims to
support CVBs and destination organizations in being more “inclusive, welcoming
and accessible to both prospective visitors and tourism businesses,” says Destinations
“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,” says Steven
Paganelli, director of destinations, hotels and OTAs for the Americas at
The pilot program will leverage Tripadvisor’s research to
“identify trends among participating tourism partners through Tripadvisor’s
market segments, business ratings and by identifying EDI terms within
traveler-generated content that showcase the work the destination and partners
Paganelli adds: “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.’”
Destinations International says the pilot program will involve:
an action plan and an EDI pledge by engaging a diverse array of community
members, tourism professionals and businesses.
“intentionally inclusive” tour products that tell the stories of
historically excluded populations.
tourism partners “cultivate safe physical spaces” and developing strategic
partnerships to become a more welcoming destination.
traditionally excluded businesses on how to “participate in and benefit
from the visitor economy.”
The Charlottesville Albemarle CVB began to address EDI when Courtney Cacatian joined as executive director in 2019, two years after a “Unite the
Right” rally turned violent there.
“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,” Cacatian says.
Sophia Hyder Hock, chief diversity officer at Destinations
International, says what sets the initiative apart is its “focus on destination
and partner accountability.”
“This work is essential to our roles as CVBs and building trust
in our communities,” Hock says.
According to a recent study, seven in 10 consumers are willing to pay more for a destination, lodging or
transportation option that is more inclusive to all types of
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