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Why multicultural tourism matters (hint: it’s bigger than the money)

James Warren March 03, 2022
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Hey everyone, it’s James from Share More Stories. Recently I told you how we’ve been growing our business, and expanding our offerings across a variety of sectors. Today I want to go a little deeper on how tourism and DEI have intersected in our work with clients.and how tourism and DEI were two areas of particular focus. 

We’ve engaged hundreds of travelers across a variety of cultural backgrounds, from all across the country. Many of these travelers come from historically underrepresented or excluded communities, and no surprise, what they want and need more than anything when they visit different destinations, is to feel like they are welcome and belong in the places they are, and that they’re safe. 

But let’s unpack this for a moment. So often, we talk about the business case for DEI when it comes to brands and organizations. But I want to talk for a second about the HUMAN case. 

Look, I get it, maybe you represent a destination or a community that may not be all that diverse or inclusive to begin with, and you’re wondering how you can possibly sell in a multicultural strategy. 

I want to challenge you with what I believe is a more important question, especially if you do not identify as a member of a historically excluded or underrepresented group. How do you feel when you travel, at least most of the time? Do you feel like you belong where you are? Do you feel safe? Do you feel welcome? These are all important aspects of our shared humanity, so if the answer is, yes, more often than not, then in general, I believe you are experiencing what it means to have your humanity seen, respected, unquestioned by others who don’t know you, but recognize and accept you as being like them, vs. being other. That means you are able to enjoy your trip, your travel experience without the anxiety of having people treat you as less than the human you are. Think about that for a moment. To be treated as the human you are, or to have your humanity go unseen… which one do you prefer?

That is what empathy is truly about. To seek to understand and identify with someone who at first glance might not seem like you, but whom you likely have much more in common with, as fellow humans. It means to engage travelers from a more inclusive perspective. It means to seek to understand what is both unique about them culturally, and what you have in common with them from a human perspective, and then to create experiences that demonstrate your recognition of both of those things: uniquely the same. We do this by enabling travelers to share their experiences, and then we derive insights from those stories, identifying the group’s needs, values and values, and helping you identify specific personas within the community. This helps you align your brand values with theirs, enhance your message to be more authentic and resonant, and ultimately improve their future experiences.

Yes, there’s a business case for DE&I in travel and tourism, as there is across all sectors. But the business case will never matter, until the human one does.

I hope this is helpful. Because this is change, as with many things, intention is not enough. There is also a process to go through. If you want to chat it up further, hit me up here or at james@sharemorestories.com. Or visit our website at sharemorestories.com.

 

Have a great day!

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