Inherent biases and the inequitable treatment of minorities is a reality in the United States—and one to which the travel industry is not immune. It requires an industrywide commitment to implement real change to ensure an inclusive working environment and create a diverse workforce at all levels, requiring equal opportunities within our industry no matter race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability or background.
Taking the first step requires having uncomfortable conversations and knowing where to start within an organization and across the industry so that we can begin to address our own biases, listen to new perspectives, elevate different voices and implement changes into our everyday behavior that will guide the future of our industry.
Use the resources on this webpage to get informed, learn from those who have taken steps to begin the work of overcoming discrimination in their organizations, and find programs in place to help increase opportunities for underserved groups.
Diversity: the inclusion of different types of people in a group or organization
Equity: freedom from bias or favoritism
Inclusion: the act of including and accommodating people who have historically been excluded
Educational Resources: Understanding the Issues
Explore the following compilation to educate yourself and begin conversations with your colleagues and communities on issues affecting the Black community and minorities in the travel industry.
- U.S. Travel National Chair Elliott Ferguson Webinar Series:
- Leading by Example: Lessons in Race and Racism (June 11)
- Lessons in Race and Racism: A Continued Discussion (June 26)
- Guest Blog: A Travel Industry Discussion of Race and Racism (June 12)
- An Open Letter from Black Destination-Industry Leaders (June 11)
- Southeast Tourism Society: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Resources
- Tourism Reset: Race, Ethnicity and Social Equity in Tourism
- Expedia Group: Inclusion and Diversity Resources
- Phocuswire and Expedia Group: Gender Diversity in the Travel Industry (white paper)
- National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals: Video Message and Statement on Diversity and Inclusion
- Blacks in Travel and Tourism: Ecosystem Building Collaborative
Cultivating Future Talent
Learn about existing programs whose goal is to introduce minorities to the travel and tourism industry in order to develop a pipeline of future talent and diverse leaders.
- American Bus Association Diversity Scholarship: Focuses on broadening the number of traditionally underrepresented groups in the management and operation ranks of the transportation, travel and tourism industry.
- Black Culinary Alliance: A nationwide nonprofit, educational and networking organization of hospitality and food service professionals.
- Destination DC’s American Experience Foundation Scholarships and Internships provides students with unforgettable educational enrichment support, bringing their curricula to life and supporting career paths in hospitality through scholarships, internships and classroom experiences.
- Destinations International’s 30 Under 30 Apprenticeship Program: Develops future industry leaders that represent a diverse set of backgrounds and perspectives.
- HEI Hotels & Resorts Women in Leadership Council was founded in 2018 with a focus on empowering female leaders and increasing the representation of women professionals in operational capacities. The council is designed to provide a mentor/mentee relationship that fosters the development of internal talent as well as to focus on the recruitment efforts for other top female talent in the industry.
- Marriott Family’s Bridges from School to Work: Engages employers, schools, community resources, youth and their families to help businesses meet their workforce needs while offering young people with disabilities the opportunity to learn, grow and succeed through the power of a job.
- NAF Advantage Hospitality and Tourism: Works with high schools across the country to prepare students for careers in hospitality and tourism.
- National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators and Developers (NABHOOD): Assists African Americans in owning, developing and managing hotels. Additionally, it works to increase vendor opportunities and executive-level jobs for minorities.
- The Trip School Diversity Project: Brings awareness to the lack of diversity in the group travel industry, outreach to new audiences who have previously not known about career paths in tourism, and training to bring these individuals into the industry and get hired, or help them start businesses.
- U.S. Travel’s Emerging Leaders: Creates an environment for emerging leaders and other young professionals to network and stay engaged in the travel industry.
- Women in Aviation International (WAI): A nonprofit organization dedicated to the encouragement and advancement of women in all aviation career fields and interests.
- Youth Career Initiative (YCI): Offers young people who are particularly vulnerable the opportunity to gain the skills and experience they need to take the first step in their career. The initiative supports young adults, aged 18-24, who have faced a wide range of barriers, including people from low income families, those living without parental care, survivors of human trafficking, refugees and people with disabilities.
Workforce Diversity Initiatives
Many within the travel industry have begun to develop diversity programs within their corporation or organization.
- American Airlines Diversity Advisory Council (DAC) leads diversity efforts by fostering company-wide educational, community service and personal enrichment opportunities. The council also supports local Employee Business Resource Groups (EBRGs), which represent many employees and their beliefs, nationalities and backgrounds.
- Association Forum Workforce Diversity Initiatives: President and CEO, Michelle Mason is focused on creating an internship program for underserved communities to show young black students that there are opportunities for them in association management.
- American Hotel and Lodging Foundation Empowering Youth Program recruits young people for entry-level hotel positions; and with the help of local community-based organizations, it nurtures and develops them with the training, tools and support that will lead to permanent careers in hospitality. The program focuses on Opportunity Youth, young adults ages 16-24 who are out of school and unemployed but have the desire and resilience to success in the workplace.
- Avis Budget Group Supplier Diversity: This program promotes the growth and development of diversified suppliers. It encourages employees to channel business opportunities to minority and women-owned business enterprises whenever the opportunity arises to procure goods and services from an outside supplier.
- CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™: The largest CEO-drive business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Comprised of 750+ CEOs across multiple sectors, including travel. Nearly 30 travel industry CEOs have joined the Coalition.
- Expedia Group: In addition to incorporate a commitment to diversity and inclusion into their business practice, the company established an Inclusion & Diversity Advisory Council who champions inclusion and diversity through all areas of the organization.
- JetBlue Equals: Various Crewmember Resource Groups spearhead grassroots efforts across the company to embrace and encourage different perspectives, thoughts and ideas.
- Marriott Diversity and Inclusion: A key priority for Marriott is creating inclusive guest experiences and supporting diversity initiatives, such as Marriott’s #LoveTravels campaign, which inspires all travelers to explore their personal passions and to celebrate their unique perspectives and experiences.
- Universal Studio’s Global Talent Development & Inclusion (GTDI): Established in 2017, GTDI builds upon Universal Studio’s long legacy of telling stories and creating art with inclusive narratives that reflect the global audience. GTDI’s strategic guidance targets both creative and workforce talent, working closely with production and human resources.
- Diversity Outdoors: Promotes diversity in outdoor recreation and conservation via a coalition of social media influencers—bloggers, athletes, activists and entrepreneurs—who share the goal of promoting diversity in outdoor spaces where BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other diverse identities have historically been marginalized and silenced.
- Multicultural Food Service and Hospitality Alliance: Brings the economic benefits of diversity and inclusion to the food and hospitality industry by building bridges and delivering solutions.
- National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals: A non-profit organization dedicated primarily to the training needs of African American meeting planners.
- Travel Professionals of Color: Finds ways to reach minority travel professionals and provide them the necessary tools to help make them more profitable and bring an awareness of minority travel professionals within the travel community.
- List and ranking of 18 historically BCU hospitality schools in the United States.
These companies and firms prioritize seeking out minority candidates.
- The Hawkins Company: Leading firm in terms of its commitment to identifying minority candidates for executive positions
- The HBCU Career Center: The #1 Career and Job Search Helper for diverse college students and alumni
- Diversityjobboard.com: Sourcing multicultural and underrepresented applicants. Once an opening is posted on the website, their software also posts the opening on the following websites:
- powertofly.com: Sourcing for females in sales and technology positions
- womeningovernment.org: Openings in advocacy and government relations