The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee at Destinations International, the global trade association for convention and visitors bureaus and their staffs, released an Allyship Letter on behalf of its global membership on June 29. As with so many aspects of our society, there are long-standing, systemic challenges that continue to create impediments to providing our colleagues from underrepresented communities with equitable access to the same opportunities that we have always enjoyed as members who identify as being a part of the white community.

As a member organization of Destinations International, GRCVB stands behind this letter as a catalyst for extensive dialogue to better understand all dimensions of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI). We invite you to read this letter to gain perspective on how the global travel and tourism industry is working toward EDI initiatives. To address over 400 years of systemic, institutionalized racism and acknowledging that white privilege is a very real thing, we have a unique opportunity and obligation to our colleagues from underrepresented communities to acknowledge that this is an ongoing journey and a lifetime commitment.

GRCVB president and CEO Dennis Edwards is available to share more about what the Bureau is doing organizationally and within the community to be a catalyst for positive change, including signing this Allyship Letter. Here is a sampling of the ways GRCVB staff have shown support and implemented EDI initiatives to be better stewards of all communities and people in Wake County and beyond…

  • All staff members participated in Diversity: Beyond the Checkbox – Unconscious Bias training.
  • The organization took part in a training from Stan Kimer of Total Engagement Consulting on the LGBTQ market and incorporating diversity into the workplace. After the training, staff were given the option to implement pronoun identification in email signatures.
  • Accessibility implementation of AudioEye on website to make it a fully-certified accessible site.
  • More attention to diverse workforce development with area universities and community partners (including, but not limited to, local HBCUs and the LGBT Center of Raleigh).
  • Free LGBTQ-welcoming hotel program to help LGBTQ visitors identify LGBTQ-welcoming hotels in the community.
  • Identified minority- and women-owned businesses and working to increase usage of them as vendors when opportunities arise for our organization as well as for incoming events and meetings.
  • Incorporated additional language in marketing and sales materials on what it means to be inclusive of all groups/visitors in our destination.
  • Starting this month, GRCVB will be partnering with The Diversity Movement to launch the DEI Navigator Program.
  • Continue to ensure that there is diversity throughout the staff and board of directors.

From Accessibility and Pride initiatives to highlighting Juneteenth events honoring the freedom of Black Americans, as well as intentionally including Black and queer businesses and events in recommendations and listings year-round, GRCVB ensures visitors that All Are Welcome Here in Raleigh, N.C.