Martinique Lewis, a travel diversity consultant and president of the Black Travel Alliance, several years ago released scorecards that measure how the travel industry deals with diversity, including race, gender, ability, and sexual preference. After evaluating the practices of 276 travel brands and regulators, it issued a 2022 Diversity in Travel Scorecard on the second anniversary of Blackout Tuesday — the day companies posted black screens on social media as an act of solidarity after the killing of George Floyd. Diversity received in advertising and promotions as well as in sailing, aviation and hospitality d. Industry F has been awarded for diversity at travel conferences, within advisory boards, and on social media. However, when Lewis spoke with cruise editor Andrea Zelensky about her latest findings, she said she found individual examples of progress..
s: Overall, your scorecard for the industry offers a lot of D and F. Has the industry as a whole improved?
a: The industry in general hasn’t done better, but I’m going to celebrate the people who did. There’s no way you can say, “We didn’t know we needed to be more diverse.” It’s the main theme in this work, the main one since 2020. They haven’t yet… [and] after two years. It should look really different next year, because you have three years now. The budget is back again because everyone is traveling again, so you can hire new people.
s: It produced the scorecard in 2019, 2020 and 2022. Why not 2021, the year after Black Tuesday?
a: I know Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it takes some brands to really try to figure things out. It’s like Double Dutch, where you’re rocking back and forth with ropes but you’re afraid to actually jump and start doing it all because you’re like, “Oh, what if I fail? I know what I’m doing. I don’t have help.”
I understand that you should have a diversity budget, or DEA and me (diversity, equality, accessibility and inclusion) for your brand. I know you have to get someone to do the training before you can move things all the way around, or you have to put your job descriptions in front of the people you want to hire. I understand this won’t happen right away, especially when they come from a traditionally homogeneous space. I’m just trying to give people the benefit of the doubt, and a lot of people have exceeded expectations. But there is a lot to go on.
Read Travel Weekly’s coverage of the race and diversity of the travel industry.
s: Who were some of those distinguished?
a: I’ve seen Expedia go through some changes. They definitely had a black net, but they didn’t take advantage of it. Then they started talking to people internally and putting them in those situations where they could really make a difference. TripAdvisor has always done a great job at it, but we’ve also seen them grow, run different courses and support a lot of black projects. Hilton was the same way.
Destination Cleveland, it’s an example of a destination that said, “We’re going to put our money where it’s right. We’re going to hire people, we’re going to do research, and then we’re going to do top-notch execution.” It is a nested theory. “We will join the community and understand what these people need, what black business owners want to see and how we can bridge the gap between the tourism boards or with their black destination and ownership, and how we can offer more opportunities, not just with our black ownership or our Asian ownership, with LGBTQ+ [business owners]. ”
Cebu Airlines has hired the first group of transit flight attendants. you would love to; I was like, “Stop, we haven’t seen that anywhere, now you’re talking about a place in the Philippines. What’s our excuse here?”
United Airlines as well as Alaska Airlines have set concrete goals, which means that this is the number of black pilots we are going to hire, and this number of female pilots we are going to hire by this date. I always tell brands that it means nothing if you can’t give me a concrete stat. Hurtigruten and Royal Caribbean are now recruiting directly from historical black colleges and universities. They give these black students a different opportunity than you regularly see specifically in the cruise industry. There are a lot of different people or different brands out there who do a great job.