In addressing issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, many destinations default to issuing statements of intent or putting new policies in place to advance hiring and promotion of diverse team members. While these steps are important, destinations also can take action to increase the diversity of visitors, support diverse business communities and creators, and increase access to what a destination offers. Better Destinations has an outstanding partner to help guide these kinds of initiatives.
Addressing concerns about systemic injustice and inequity, Cathy Ritter in 2020 invited about 30 diverse leaders to serve on the Colorado Tourism Inclusivity in Travel Advisory Group. This group was charged with developing an honest report of the opportunities and challenges for increasing the diversity of Colorado's traveler profile and creating a warmer welcome for all travelers.
With expert guidance from a facilitator skilled in diversity, equity and inclusion, the group outlined a multi-pronged approach to breaking down barriers. Acting on the recommendations, Cathy set in motion the first statewide pilot for tech startup Inclusive Journeys' “virtual Green Book,” providing crowd-sourced reviews of businesses' practices around inclusivity. She also led creation of an innovative new diversity offering for the CTO's paid media co-op program, allowing tourism partners to target advertising to Black, Latinx and Asian travelers as well as LGBTQ communities and people with disabilties.
She also initiated development of a new module for the office's Colorado Concierge workforce training platform, aimed at guiding frontline workers to show sensitivity in interactions with people of different backgrounds. Several other initiatives from the report were set in motion as well.
Cathy’s forward thinking and focused mindset turned general talk around the work of inclusivity in travel into authentic action. Because of her incredible ability to build and foster relationships with people of all backgrounds, Cathy brought the right people into the room and quickly built coalition around necessary work that will see ripple effects throughout the travel industry for years to come. Her approach provided the necessary balance in providing simultaneous space for deeply personal and authentic conversations that incorporated feedback loops, while moving forward key deliverables in a timely manner.Laura Valdez Co-Executive Director Fort Collins (CO) Museum of Discovery
Faced with a surge of travelers into Colorado’s backcountry, Cathy Ritter built a coalition of partners to field a comprehensive, season-long awareness campaign. The message pushed safety and raised funds for search and rescue.Read More