When speaking about travel and tourism companies implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) into their business, one of the biggest questions is, how?

Travel Unity has the answer.

Travel Unity is a nonprofit whose entire focus is diversity in travel and they’ve been working to make the industry more inclusive since 2015. In this newest effort to help destinations, travel agencies, hotels, and other tourism companies improve their DEI initiatives, they’ve launched a DEI certification program through their Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) Standards for Travel & Tourism program .

Called Certified by Travel Unity (CBTU), this program was developed with the help of over 100 professionals across various industries and aims to help travel companies and organizations improve their DEI standards in management, workforce, visitorship, and community impact.

Hotels, museums, DMOs, CVBs, theme parks, tour operators, travel agencies, airlines, restaurants, and any other travel organization from around the world can apply to the CBTU program through October 1, 2020. Travel Unity is only accepting 10-12 travel companies that are serious about change and “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 Travel Unity. “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.”

Applicants accepted into the course will learn about a variety of DEI initiatives and business practices they can implement in their travel company. Travel Unity will cover everything from marketing & PR practices to partnerships, best methods for hiring diverse candidates and training employees, and working with local communities and contractors.

Those accepted into CBTU will have an introductory call with Travel Unity, followed by DEI Prep Sessions, work with Travel Unity to test the certification process and have check-in calls as needed. They'll finish with a certification audit by Travel Unity.

“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.”

Those who wish to apply to the CBTU program can do so here.

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