Black Lives Matter in tourism

Few things open our eyes like travel does.

Travel allows us to see a glimpse into the lives of other individuals — to experience the world through others’ eyes. Through travel, we can experience cultures, traditions, other holidays, and other significant experiences that we might not be accustomed to.

Yet in the travel industry, systematic racism still exists.

In a report by The Guardian, stories were shared by black individuals about how uncomfortable they were made to feel while hiking and utilizing outdoor recreation opportunities — some of these stories sharing experiences within the Mid-Atlantic region.

The Instagram account Black Girls Trekkin (@blackgirlstrekkin) is a safe space where black women, like the accounts’ creators, share content geared towards enjoying the outdoors and proving stereotypes wrong.

These are just two examples of how people of color feel unsafe within the context of travel and recreation; and how they use their voices to showcase that they belong on the trails just as any of us do.

In a recent statement, Roger Dow, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, said that the travel industry serves people from all walks of life. “As an industry, we must use our collective voice to advocate for equality, both in travel and beyond,” he said. “We can all contribute to addressing systemic racism and injustice in America.”

Take some time to educate yourselves on how people of color are discriminated against when it comes to travel opportunities, readers. The work that can be done can start with you.

“Travel opens our minds to other cultures, pushes us from our comfort zones, and leads us to confront our own prejudices and biases. We have a long way to go, but it is the nature of those of us in the travel industry to believe in the inherent beauty of our country and our culture.”

— Roger Dow, President and CEO of the U.S. Travel Association

This editor’s note originally appeared in Recreation News.

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