Travel Unity invites “Serious About Change” tourism organizations to apply for pilot of DEI Certification Program

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The diversity-in-travel leader has launched its DEI Standards and seeks participants to trial it as the framework for certification. Applications accepted through October 1, 2020.

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NEW YORK, NY – Travel Unity (TU), a nonprofit focused on diversity in travel, has put out a call for conscientious tourism organizations to join a cohort that will trial its tentpole program, Certified by Travel Unity (CBTU). This program is anchored in TU’s recently launched Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Standards for Travel & Tourism, which took months to develop with input from more than 100 professionals across industries. The DEI Standards aim to assist travel companies and organizations in benchmarking their commitment to enhancing DEI in three primary categories – management and workforce, visitorship, and community impact – and serve as a roadmap for future efforts. Following completion of the certification program, organizations are enjoined to maintain or improve upon best practices and stand as examples for other tourism businesses. 

Any travel organization that welcomes visitors, including destination marketing organizations (DMOs), convention & visitor bureaus (CVBs), hotels, museums, restaurants, theme parks, tour operators etc., is welcome to apply through October 1, 2020.

While many organizations have already expressed interest in participating since applications were opened on August 3, only 10-12 organizations will be chosen for the inaugural group. TU leadership will be especially selective with the first cohort, keeping to participants that are “serious about change” – organizations that have a demonstrated engagement around DEI that goes beyond reactions to Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements. 

“CBTU requires an ‘all-in’ commitment; it’s much more than a bullet point on a board presentation,” said Roni Weiss, the executive director of TU. “Our standards and our approach to certification are rooted in the need for a commitment to a journey of change, active community involvement and regular check-ins on how new developments are doing. They also emphasize that leadership must look at its own behavior. No other DEI certification program factors in all of these criteria in such a comprehensive way.”

“TU and the work that led to the DEI Standards didn’t pop up in response to recent movements and the pandemic. We’ve been at this since 2015,” added Romey Louangvilay, the president of TU’s Board of Directors. “However, we hope the present-day context amplifies our efforts. We hope it serves as a call to action for the many organizations that have wanted to do this work but didn’t know how to begin or get stakeholder sign-off.”

Certified by TU and the DEI Standards are ideal for organizations interested more in processes that support people than metrics that support reports, and tackle a wide range of topics from marketing, PR and best practices in hiring to stakeholder engagement and environmental impact. Travel Unity's DEI Standards align with the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and recognize the authority of other credentialing bodies, making certification useful to organizations seeking assessments from multiple agencies.

Separately, TU has devised an action-based pledge that invites signatories to adopt anti-bias behaviors, and the nonprofit will host its “Reset & Rebuild: Advancing Travel Together” virtual summit from October 21-23, 2020, at which initial learning from the first certification cohort will be deliberated.