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Findings from the Black Travel Alliance's (BTA) #PullUpForTravel campaign, which was announced alongside the group's launch in June 2020, have just been released and reinforce the organization's argument that Black people are grossly underrepresented in travel.
A group that's primarily composed of Black content providers, the BTA reached out to 121 travel companies that had publicly supported the 'Black Lives Matter' movement or the #BlackOutTuesday campaign via social media. BTA requested that they share their 2019 key performance indicators (KPIs) relating to Black representation within their own organizations to assess the levels of diversity and inclusion seen in the travel industry today.
Out of the 121 companies that were contacted, 67 responded with the requested statistics in five key areas of activity: employment, press, tradeshows and conferences, paid advertising/marketing campaigns and philanthropy.
-Twenty-nine of the respondents supplied employment data indicating that anywhere from zero to 90 percent of their workforces were people of color, although that category isn't specific to Black employees.
-Six companies provided figures indicating that they ensured Black representation on speaker panels, workshops and sessions at conferences and trade shows.
-Twelve provided data demonstrating that they produced content and brand messaging that specifically represents Black people in TV, radio, print and digital channels in 2019.
-Six respondents provided figures indicating that they'd ensured Black people were represented on press/media trips in 2019.
-Five companies offered evidence that they gave contributions or other support to Black charities and community groups.
BTA said that much of the information provided by travel brands and destination management organizations in response to its #PullUpForTravel initiative was incomplete, and many offered statements without reporting their KPIs due to their present lack of diversity.
Nevertheless, BTA's President Martinique Lewis considers the campaign a success. "As a new organization, we were able to get sixty-seven destination management organizations and travel brands to go on the record about Black representation within their companies," she said. "This now becomes a benchmark for greater transparency and accountability in the months and years to come."
"Our goal is not to shame anyone or to make companies feel bad about what hasn't happened so far," BTA board member and research committee chairperson Ursula Petula Barzey told Travel Weekly. "It's like, OK, let's draw a line in the sand because you've now said that Black lives matter, and we thank you for that. But let's really show that it does matter. And what that means is being more inclusive in all areas of travel."
Laurie Baratti is a San Diego-based journalist whose work has previously appeared in publications like TravelAge West, SPACE,...
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