Destinations International Announces Release of 2022 Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Study on Destination Organizations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE           

Media Contact:
Caitlyn Blizzard
[email protected]
1.202.835.4202

Washington, D.C., USA (February 25, 2022) – Destinations International, the world’s largest resource for official destination organizations and convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs), today announced the release of the 2022 Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Study on Destination Organizations which outlines the business case for diversity and offers data, insights and opportunities for destination organizations. The study can be downloaded here.

“Destinations International continues to be committed to transforming destination communities through thought leadership, best practices and tools based on EDI standards and principles,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International. “In 2017, Destinations International made the decision to prioritize equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) as a strategic goal for the association and we have come a long way in five years. To continue to develop and advance strategies to achieve this vision, it is critical to continue to benchmark data from members and track and measure progress on behalf of the destination marketing and management industry.”

"Our latest study demonstrates some of the great work our destination organizations have done in the field of EDI since 2020,” said Sophia Hyder Hock, chief diversity officer at Destinations International. “We fully acknowledge that there is still work to be done but it's important to reflect on the small ripples of change today, which hopefully lead to waves of systematic change for our future.”

Destinations International has released several initiatives to support its priority to equity, diversity and inclusion:

  • July 2018: Hosted the first Equity, Diversity & Inclusion meeting during Destinations International’s Annual Convention in Anaheim, CA.
  • August 2018: Announced a member-wide call for committee participation to form first Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Task Force.
  • December 2018: In partnership with Association Forum, hosted a dialogue with key industry leaders from the association and CVB communities to brainstorm potential strategies to cultivate a welcoming environment for meeting and event attendees.
  • February 2019: Launched the association’s first study to collect a snapshot of racial and workforce diversity examining demographics of board leadership, executive staff, general governance and policies.
  • March 2019: In collaboration with the Philadelphia CVB/PHL Diversity, convened a Meetings & Conventions Leaders Roundtable designed to guide industry leaders through the process of developing a common language and vision for diversity and inclusion within the meetings and convention industries.
  • July 2019 – April 2020: Over the course of 2019 and into 2020, work continued by implementing EDI educational opportunities across all signature events including Annual Convention and discipline-focused summits.
  •  July 2020: Announced the first memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals, released a Board Diversity best practices guide for destination organizations, and formally made the EDI Task Force a standing committee under the bylaws of Destinations International.
  • August 2020: Launched survey collection of Destinations International members to self-identify demographic data.
  • November 2020: Released the first EDI Study on Destination Organizations examining overall demographics and perceptions on EDI within member destination organizations.
  • December 2020: Launched the EDI CEO Leadership pledge for executives to be better aligned and committed to making actionable plans to drive a vision for change.
  • January 2021: Released Destinations International’s first EDI Strategy Roadmap with the goal to lead and engage strategic planning and programmatic development initiatives and opportunities to enable structural social change for the benefit of our members’ communities.
  • February - December 2021: Launched EDI Masterclass series in partnership with The Ladipo Group designed for executive leadership around the topics of emotional intelligence, effective communication, microaggressions, unconscious bias and allyship.
  • February 22, 2022: Sophia Hyder Hock joined the association as the chief diversity officer to implement Destinations International’s EDI initiatives.

“Continuing to measure EDI within destination organizations is critical for the industry,” said Melissa Cherry, chief diversity and inclusion officer/SVP at Miles Partnership and member of Destinations International’s EDI Committee. “Not only are we able to celebrate progress and growth, but we can also continue to maintain a snapshot of overall workforce demographics and perceptions on EDI to track organizational commitment to implementing EDI strategies internally, as well as within their local hospitality communities.”

The study can be downloaded here. For more information, contact Caitlyn Blizzard at [email protected].

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About Destinations International:
Destinations International is the world’s largest resource for official destination organizations, convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs) and tourism boards. Destinations International is about serving destination marketing professionals first and foremost. Together with more than 5,675 members and partners from nearly 600 destinations in approximately 12 countries, Destinations International represents a powerful forward-thinking, collaborative association; exchanging bold ideas, connecting innovative people and elevating tourism to its highest potential. For more information, visit www.destinationsinternational.org

About the Author

Caitlyn Blizzard, CDMEVice President of CommunicationsDestinations International

About the Author

With a passion for advancing destinations and the travel and tourism industry worldwide, Caitlyn Blizzard has over 10 years of experience in the destination organization industry.

As the Vice President of Communications at Destinations International, the global trade association for convention and visitors bureaus and tourism boards, Blizzard leads the organization’s strategic communications which include managing the external and industry-focused messaging.

Prior to joining Destinations International, Blizzard spent five years at a mid-size CVB in Georgia leading the organization’s public relations and communications efforts which included working with local, regional and national media to promote the city as a premier destination.

When she isn’t checking off another bucket list destination on her travel list, Blizzard serves the D.C. community as a volunteer, is an avid reader, and enjoys playing tennis and exploring new attractions and restaurants.

Blizzard is a Florida native with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts from the University of West Florida.

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