Destinations International Releases Roadmap for Enhancing Diversity in 2021

New initiatives include a supplier diversity index, an inclusive marketing toolkit, classes on unconscious bias and more.

Destinations International has unveiled its 2021 Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy Roadmap. The 16-page document outlines top priorities for helping its member organizations improve diversity efforts and make the industry more inclusive. 

The roadmap builds on DI's 2020 initiatives, including its partnership with the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals and its recently announced CEO Pledge, which calls for the heads of convention and visitor bureaus to publicly commit to equitable, diverse and inclusive practices. The report also aims to address findings from DI's November survey on diversity within destination organizations. Of the 718 industry professionals polled, 81 percent identified as white and 85 percent said they were heterosexual. 

"In 2021, Destinations International is committed to implementing equity, diversity and inclusion strategies and best practices, and promises to work with our members and industry leaders to be the catalyst for change," said DI president and CEO Don Welsh in the document. "There is much work to be done and we must all come together to advance these sometimes difficult, but important conversations to drive solutions."

The roadmap includes dozens of strategic initiatives designed to drive change across five main categories: workforce development, community engagement, education and awareness, branding and promotion, and self-awareness and personal investment. New tactics outlined in the document include:

  • CEO Toolkit: Provide resources and guidance for executive leaders to implement equity, diversity and inclusion strategies within their destination.
  • Executive EDI Masterclass: Develop a live series that will cover important topics and skills for destination CEOs and leaders, including emotional intelligence, effective communication, microaggressions and unconscious bias.
  • Track metrics: Build on the 2020 diversity benchmark survey to measure progress and growth within the industry. Release an annual report card on destination organization EDI standards and practices.
  • University partnerships: Work with university hospitality programs, student associations, historically Black colleges and Hispanic-serving institutions to attract diverse talent and educate them on career path opportunities in the hospitality industry.
  • Supplier diversity: Launch an online supplier diversity industry resource.
  • Talent: Develop executive leadership and apprenticeship programs focused on growing a more diverse talent pool.
  • Inclusive marketing: Release a toolkit with resources and practices on equitable destination marketing.
  • Welcoming Environment Certificate: Create a new course for member organizations to learn and implement inclusive and welcoming strategies within their destinations.

"The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy Roadmap is a first of its kind for the association and will be an instrumental resource for our members as we all work together to build a more inclusive industry," said Butch Spyridon, CEO of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. "The Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. joins the almost 200 executive directors and CEOs who have already pledged to commit to working toward a more inclusive environment, and we will challenge ourselves and our staff daily to follow this strategy set in place by our industry's trade association. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of this initiative at this particular moment in time. Things won't get better until we all get better."