Diversity is a hot topic at the moment. But what do we mean by the term? People often talk about things like gender, race, age, physical ability, sexual and religious orientation. But at its most fundamental, embracing diversity is about accepting that everyone is different. We all have unique perspectives and experiences which we bring to the purchasing decisions we make and the jobs that we do. Whilst past business models typically focussed on achieving scale through standardisation and favoured workforce homogeneity, modern businesses need to be more flexible to succeed in today’s fast-moving world and to satisfy the myriad demands of customers.

Employees and customers are demanding diversity

Diversity enhances business performance

Where are the opportunities for Travel & Tourism?

The LGBT sector is seeing similar growth. UNWTO estimates³ that annually the LGBT community rack up some 36 million overnight visits, so there’s huge opportunity here. As increasing numbers of destinations legalise same-sex marriages and partnerships, demand for overseas weddings and honeymoons in particular is growing.

Whilst the sector is nowhere near as advanced there are also developments in tours for travellers from specific ethnic backgrounds. A great example is black history with companies like Travel Noire, Henderson Travel and Travelling Black offering tours to places like Ghana focussed on the history of slavery.

Perhaps one of the most interesting case studies when it comes to diversity is the Illunion group in Spain. It was founded to provide jobs for people with disabilities. With 25 hotels in 12 destinations, 40% of the hotel’s staff have a form of disability. The hotels are targeted at travellers with disabilities too. Rooms and shared spaces are designed for higher levels of accessibility and all staff receive training on accessibility, as well as work protocols they must bear in mind when receiving people with disabilities.

There’s more to do

The numbers are worse when it comes to racial diversity with only one in 33 leaders in UK Travel businesses identifying themselves as black, Asian or minority ethnic. Statistics for members of the LGBT community are not readily available.

There’s huge opportunity for businesses that successfully adapt and foster more diverse workplaces. Customers are demanding it, employees want it too. So what are we waiting for?

Further deep-dive into this topic in one of our exclusive Strategic Insight Issues at this year’s WTTC Global Summit 2019 in Seville, Spain on Thursday 4 April. You can watch live on the day at: wttc.org/livestream

¹ Source: European Travel Commission Handbook on LGBT tourism
² Source: Women in Hospitality, Travel, and Leisure 2020, WiH2020 Review
³ Source: Second Global Report on LGBT tourism

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