Dear Valued Tourism Partners,
As Angelenos, we have the privilege of representing one of the world’s most diverse destinations, including residents from over 140 countries and visitors from around the globe. This does not mean, however, that we are immune to the ongoing issues of systemic discrimination and racism that continue to significantly limit opportunity for countless Americans. I passionately believe that our diversity is L.A.’s greatest strength, and that we have a shared responsibility to work together to create a more equitable and inclusive community for locals and visitors, alike.
Beyond that, if we are to drive meaningful, lasting progress, we must become comfortable having the “uncomfortable” conversations so that we can understand the root causes of these long-standing challenges, and commit ourselves to being allies of all those who continue to experience marginalization in our society.
In that spirit – and in partnership with Destinations International, the global trade association for DMOs and CVBs – I am proud to join more than 115 destination leaders from across the U.S. and Canada in committing to the principles outlined in a just-released Allyship Commitment Letter. All signers identify as members of the White community and recognize that, as such, we have both the opportunity and obligation to raise our collective voices to actively drive systemic change within the Visitor Industry.
I encourage you to read this letter to learn more about how Destinations International and its members are working together to directly address these issues, including making an ongoing commitment to incorporate relevant, meaningful, and measurable goals around diversity, equity, and inclusion in our annual business plans.
For our own part, Los Angeles Tourism’s efforts are guided by our Community Advisory Board – a remarkable group of 30 diverse Angelenos representing the Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American/Indigenous, Asian American/Pacific Islander, and LGBTQ+ communities. Through ongoing collaboration with these leaders who generously volunteer their time and talents in support of our efforts, we are already working on the following three areas of commitment for 2022:
1) In partnership with the Los Angeles Tourism Board of Directors and Nominating Committee, actively recruit additional Directors to increase Board representation among women and diverse communities by 30%.
2) In partnership with our Community Advisory Board, regional chambers of commerce, and area business associations, expand support for local minority-owned businesses (MBEs) by proactively identifying merchants who could more directly benefit from tourism, but are not currently leveraging our organization’s resources.
3) Convene a coalition of Los Angeles community, business, and public sector leaders to implement a workforce development pilot program for the Visitor Industry, with a primary focus on underrepresented communities.
Perhaps the most concise way of describing this vital work was expressed by Arthur Chan, a leading voice on diversity, equity, and inclusion. As he so eloquently puts it:
Diversity is a fact.
Equity is a choice.
Inclusion is an action.
Belonging is an outcome.
On behalf of the Los Angeles Tourism team, we look forward to working with all of you to bring about that long overdue outcome.
All My Best,
Los Angeles Tourism