Black Meetings and Tourism

November/December 2021

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Page 16 of 52

B M & T ••• November/December 2021 ••• 16 It should be no secret that there's a major diversity problem in the tours & attractions industry here in North America. The very face of travel— tour guides—lacks representation and therefore the perspectives and stories that can make a guided travel experience so varied and rich. And there are too few minori- ty-owned travel businesses. As our industry continues its slow road to recovery, it's a long overdue time to intentionally chart a more equi- table path forward. For that reason, I'm thankful my training organization TripSchool is part of a coalition called the Pathways Project, spearheaded by tour operator and guide Leon Buenette and supported by organi- zations like Tourism Cares , the United States Tour Operators Assocation (USTOA) and tour oper- ators like Destination America (The Travel Corporation) and their The TreadRight Foundation, plus indus- try conference & research organi- zation Arival (Bruce Rosard, Douglas Quinby), and the market- ing genius of Marica Mackenroth Brewster at The Von Mack Agency. Plus more partners featured soon! The goal is simple: create more awareness of the career paths of tour guiding, tour directing, and tour business entrepreneurship. Then offer subsidized trainings, conference attendance and men- torship programs to lower any bar- riers to entry. The refrain I've heard for years is "why didn't I know about these jobs earlier in my life?" And we're calling it Pathways, because these are just doorways in which to enter a rich and varied industry. I know major CEOs who started as guides, and hospitality industry folks who thrived owning their own tour business, once they knew it was possible. OPENING DOORS TO NEW OPPORTUNITIES I N T H E T R A V E L I N D U S T R Y BY MITCH BACH In December we're already gath- ering a first class of future tour directors in Atlanta. In February there will be big things in store at the Arival conference in San Diego. And more projects to come, plus we'll be featuring the many other organizations coming on board to sponsor Pathways initiatives and change our industry. We hope you'll consider involv- ing your organization in any way possible. Or if you know someone you think might love to learn more. Please don't hesitate to reach out, we're looking forward to hearing from you all! Watch Leon's video and visit the site for more info. Visit for more informa- tion, where you can also watch Leon Burnette's video that sheds more light on this vital subject.

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