Sign up for our newswire newsletter


Destinations International Shifts From EDI to Social Inclusion Initiatives and Names Chief Inclusion Officer

Globe without silhouettes of people standing in front of it

Destinations International (DI), the world’s largest membership entity and resource for official destination organizations and CVBs, announced that it has officially adopted a “shift” from traditional equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) positioning and narratives to a more holistic social inclusion approach to better benefit its membership. 

The announcement was made during the 2024 DI Marketing & Communications Summit February 27-29 in Salt Lake City, Utah, where attendees were given a first-hand look at how DI will be integrating social inclusion across all touchpoints of the organization, including a resource hub, marketing tools and case studies. 

“Destinations International has been deeply committed to creating spaces and places in the travel industry that promote a true sense of welcoming and belonging for people of all backgrounds and abilities,” said Don Welsh, president and CEO of Destinations International. “Over the last seven years, we have invested significant time and effort in understanding how we can best serve our members by equipping them with the best available resources for such critical issues as inclusion, empathy and belonging. I am very proud of the work that our team has done, led by our chief inclusion officer, Sophia Hyder-Hock, to prepare us for the future.”

Hyder-Hock, formerly chief diversity officer for DI will now assume the role of chief inclusion officer.

A Mindful Shift

Sophia Hyder-Hock
Sophia Hyder-Hock

“Social Inclusion is being organically integrated throughout all areas of the Destinations International enterprise,” Hyder-Hock said. “By weaving inclusion into the fabric of our work, we become active participants in addressing a range of societal topics that affect the economic vitality of our destinations—including the creation of safe and welcoming places, avenues for underrepresented voices to be heard, diversification of the workforce, accessibility and so many more topics that are included in our new graphic. 

“This holistic approach transcends traditional EDI efforts, underscoring the fundamental importance of belonging in every aspect of community life,” she continued.  

DI is making available to members a suite of resources, including a refreshed inclusion website, to benefit any destination or partner, regardless of where they are in their social inclusion journey. No matter the size of the organization, DI says it has resources to drive tangible business impact. The new website will include the organization’s working definition of inclusion, explain the reason for this shift in greater detail and how DI is aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs). Users will be able to click on each topic to find dedicated resources designed to support destination organizations with their inclusion efforts. 

“This shift expands on the important work we have been building upon over the past several years by humanizing societal issues that can unlock untapped potential, drive innovation and productivity, and create a more welcoming visitor experience for people of all backgrounds and abilities,” Hyder-Hock added. “We invite you to be curious, to understand how this shift applies to your destination and to join us in proactively creating spaces where people of all backgrounds and abilities can thrive and feel welcome. “

To view and access Destinations International’s social inclusion resources, click here.

[Related: How CVBs Are Connecting the Next Generation to Jobs in Hospitality]

Overview of Destination International’s EDI Initiatives

In 2017, Destinations International embarked on a strategic approach to advance social inclusion topics across the organization and among its members. From annual inclusion research on member destinations, the creation of the EDI Assessment Tool to help create accountability-focused standards and metrics for the industry, hiring the organization’s chief diversity officer and establishing key inclusion initiatives in 2022, to leading a robust inclusion committee and hosting year-long table talk discussions, DI continues to ensure the principles of inclusion are at the forefront for itself and its members.

In 2023, DI partnered with Paradise Advertising & Marketing Inc. as its first agency to help develop a social inclusion brand image and marketing integration efforts. DI also unveiled six core strategic priorities critical to growth, innovation and creating spaces and places that champion welcoming and belonging along with identifying four of the UNSDGs to align with DI’s inclusion strategy. 

In addition to a social inclusion lexicon, DI also recently revised their inclusive leadership pledge for members, launched an Accessibility subcommittee, and updated their Social Impact Assessment Tool (formerly the EDI Assessment Tool) for Destination Organizations. 

Read this next: 10 Ways Meeting Planners Can Work With CVBs to Create a Welcoming Environment

This information is based off of a press release from DI.

Profile picture for user Danielle LeBreck
About the author
Danielle LeBreck | Senior Content Director

Danielle started at Meetings Today in March 2019 after seven years of editorial experience in the travel and food industries. She oversees all of the destination content for Meetings Today and collaborates with the team on digital content strategy and content marketing initiatives.