by Greg DeShields via Arival | 8 January 2024

TDM Executive Director, Greg DeShields, reviews the state of diversity initiatives in the U.S. going into the new year and shares his top seven trends for travel industry leaders in 2024.

In this article, Greg will review several key factors influencing DEI initiatives in 2024, and end with a list of the top seven tourism diversity trends for tourism leaders and experience operators to consider going into 2024.


1. Maintain Your DEI Commitments and Strategies

Focus on sustainable initiatives, policy changes, equitable processes, and continuous learning and development programs.

Articulating a clear and sincere position on matters of social and political importance can significantly enhance trust and loyalty. This clarity in corporate values and stances supports a positive internal culture and reinforces the organization’s reputation. Leaders can avoid reactive and potentially harmful communication by aligning internally with where the company stands on critical issues.

2. Create a Positive Diverse Company Culture

The goal is to create a culture where Diversity is celebrated, equity is pursued, and inclusion is the norm—properly setting expectations for senior leaders to understand that DEI is not a journey of perfection.

3. Become Familiar with DEI-Related Legislation 

DEI initiatives are often promoted through organizational policies, state laws, and local ordinances. It is recommended to check legal databases and government websites or consult with legal professionals in your jurisdiction.

4. Go Beyond Your Typical Sponsorship and Support Community Initiatives 

Evaluate the Effectiveness of Current Efforts before committing to new initiatives, review existing DEI programs, and assess if they align with and support organizational goals. Utilize data to measure progress over time to evaluate the effectiveness of DEI initiatives. These insights support making informed decisions and drive meaningful organizational change.

5. Embrace the Dimensions of Diversity 

Empower people by respecting and appreciating what makes them different in terms of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, education, and national origin.

6. Update Your DEI Language 

Expand the definition of diversity to include accessibility and proactively include welcoming words, phrases, and expressions. Use inclusive and respectful terminology, avoid language perpetuating stereotypes or biases, promote communication, and foster a sense of belonging for all individuals. Be mindful of power dynamics, address systemic inequalities, and work towards creating a more just and equitable society.

7. Watch Your AI (Artificial Intelligence) and DEI Strategy 

Recognize the importance of addressing biases in AI systems, ensuring that AI technologies are developed and deployed relatively and inclusively.

  • Bias in AI: AI systems can inherit and perpetuate biases in the data they are trained on. Addressing bias in AI algorithms is crucial for ensuring fair and equitable outcomes, particularly in hiring, lending, and criminal justice areas.
  • Ethical AI Development: There is a growing emphasis on developing AI systems ethically, considering the diverse perspectives and experiences of different communities. This involves diverse representation in AI research and development teams.

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