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Racism in Tourism

June 21, 2020
Harold Goodwin
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Alex Temblador explains the problem

It’s the travel industry’s responsibility to do something about it.

The travel industry tends to think of itself as a space of leisure, fun, and escape where such things like racism are left behind for good times. The problem is, for black individuals and people of color, escaping racism is not something they can do by taking a vacation. Racism, like in many other sectors of society, has been built into the travel industry, both knowingly and unknowingly.

I can showcase the pervasiveness of racism in the travel industry through study after study, through anecdotes of racial attacks on planes and racial biases in hotels or cruises. I can provide interviews with black men and women and people of color who share stories of harassment in various destinations, even those by travel agents like Alfred W. who told me, “I get looks all the time when I travel. I'm a 6' 6" 270 lbs. black male and when I enter a room/resort lobby/airplane/restaurant, I see it on some of the faces. You should see the looks of shock I get when I sit down in first-class seating.”

You can inform yourself as to what racism looks like in the travel industry by reading articles and studies related to racism on TravelPulse and other outlets, as well as memoirs written by black travelers and travelers of color like Maureen Stone’s Black Woman Walking and Amanda Epe’s Fly Girl, a memoir written by a black female flight attendant. Consult sites like Travel Noire, a digital media company serving African Diaspora travelers."

These extracts are from How the Travel Industry Can Do Its Part in the Fight Against Racism in Travel Pulse. 

The tourism industry needs to take responsibility and address racism throughout the sector. PwC and TTG have published a report arguing the business case for doing so. Download  Conde Nast Traveler  are reporting that the Black Travel Alliance has launched a  Black Travel Scorecard, which will evaluate destinations and travel brands under five key areas and they are promoting  Black-owned businesses, including tour groups like Experience Real Cartagena and African Lisbon Tours, which seek to amplify Black history or culture in a destination. Read the views of ten BAME people about the issues we need too address .

Justin Francis has described the broad agenda, changing attitudes, opening up travel, ensuring that more money finds its way into local hands,  finding ways to address and stop conscious or unconscious racist behaviour towards travellers of colour, ensuring that BAME communities are consulted about the impact tourism has on them. more

We need to take responsibility and address racism, in tourism 

JD Shadel writes in the Washington Post 
There have been many proclamations that #BlackLivesMatter, lots of "listening and learning" but little action.

UGOGIRL Black Travel Books
Best Travel Narratives by People of Color

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For an African-American woman, a study-abroad program in Italy led to an eye-opening experience. “Disgusting black women” were the stinging words of one racial encounter. New York Times

Dan Williams is a leader in the tourism industry – but he says that hasn't stopped him from experiencing racism throughout his lifetime, even still today Columbus Business First

On Saturday, the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism issued an alert warning against travel to Australia, citing a "significant increase" in racist attacks on "Chinese and Asian people". "Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, racial discrimination and violence against Chinese and Asian people in Australia have seen a significant increase," the ministry statement said. "The Ministry of Culture and Tourism reminds Chinese tourists to enhance their safety awareness and do not travel to Australia". ABC News

© 2020 The Responsible Tourism Partnership 
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