Destinations International Unveils Equity, Diversity and Inclusion CEO Pledge

The measure is a critical next step for CVBs to remain competitive, enhance workforce development, drive innovation and be relevant in the years ahead.   


In keeping with one of its key strategic goals, Destinations International has unveiled its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion CEO Pledge, designed for leaders of convention and visitor bureaus to ensure they remain competitive, enhance workforce development, drive innovation and be relevant in the years ahead.

“The CEO Pledge is a critical next step for our industry’s leadership and their commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion on behalf of their organizations,” said Don Welsh, DI’s president and CEO. The pledge was born out of DI’s recent research, 2020 Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Study on Destination Organizations.  

DI is not alone in this endeavor: DE&I is vital to the future of all associations, a point that was emphasized during the recent Association Forum Holiday Showcase, which was produced by Northstar Meetings Group.

Beginning next year, DI will encourage its members to sign up and commit to the pledge. The list of CEOs/executive directors who do so will be posted on the CEO Pledge website. The organization also will offer opportunities for CEOs and executive leaders to activate the pledge, including a CEO masterclass on diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Following are the full contents of Destinations International Equity, Diversity and Inclusion CEO Pledge:

We celebrate the broad range of human differences among us, while also embracing the commonalities we all share. We firmly stand by our belief that all industries should be open to everyone for opportunities and growth and that it is critical for destination organization CEOs and executive leaders to commit to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion to drive a vision for change and be accountable for implementing that change.

We commit to the following:

  • We will build and sustain an equitable, diverse and inclusive workforce, led by executive leadership and our boardrooms. We recognize how critical inclusivity is to bring together a wide variety of voices when promoting tourism and sustaining our economies. Growing an inclusive and equitable workforce reflects the level of diversity we wish to welcome to our destinations. It will foster innovation and provide space for historically marginalized voices to positively evolve how we promote tourism and authentically welcome all travelers. 
  • We will collectively share best practices for growing equity, diversity and inclusion industry-wide, and we will hold one another accountable for measuring action and progress. We are part of a highly collaborative and engaged community that leverages the benefits of cooperative learning and shared growth. From understanding the role that unconscious bias plays in preventing equity to actively working towards dismantling systems of power and privilege, we are committed to having open, honest conversations, while holding each other accountable for bringing about an inclusive and equitable industry. That includes sharing knowledge for building an EDI educational curriculum and engaging the expertise of diversity and inclusion professionals.
  • We will share the lived experiences of marginalized and underrepresented communities that are disproportionately unseen in tourism marketing and storytelling. We firmly believe in the transformative power of travel, and we are dedicated to including who the industry has historically ignored. Our goal is to push towards inclusive and equitable marketing practices that prioritize partnerships with underrepresented populations, implement marketing practices that are representative of the communities we promote, advocate for sustainability, and honors the history of the ancestral lands we welcome travelers to explore. We see these as foundational to authentic representation and inclusion.
  • We will support actions in our communities that seek to achieve equity and justice for everyone, including travelers, stakeholders and citizens alike. We are deeply connected to the communities that make up our destinations, and we are committed to nurturing broader cultural and institutional changes that help shape and reimagine what equity and justice look like. This is imperative to improve our ability to foster a welcoming environment within our destinations for visitors, support our local businesses to purchase goods and services from diverse vendors, and, most of all, stay dedicated to demonstrating how our industry can enrich the lives of those living in our destinations.
  • I am personally invested and committed to equity, diversity and inclusion. I acknowledge my role as a fundamental change-maker in defining success for equity, diversity and inclusion. I am fully aware that I must commit to doing the work first before asking the same of others. Therefore, I pledge to focus on my own personal growth around understanding how systemic oppression, social injustice and economic disparity hinder equality. I will invest in broadening my self-awareness of these issues through education, training, and peer networking to have these tough, but critical, conversations.