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Thailand becomes first international destination in Travel Unity’s DEI Certification Program

The popular Southeast Asian nation complements a select group of U.S. domestic destinations, all striving to become leaders in diversity, equity and inclusion standards and practices

NEW YORK – Travel Unity (TU), a nonprofit focused on diversity in travel, welcomes the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s New York and LA offices (TAT) to the inaugural cohort of Certified by Travel Unity (CBTU), which launches as a pilot later this month. CBTU is TU’s tent pole program, anchored in TU’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Standards for Travel & Tourism, and aims to assist participating travel companies and organizations in benchmarking their commitment to enhancing DEI and following a roadmap for future efforts.

Travel Unity, which has a history of working with U.S. domestic tourism organizations and destinations, was ready for CBTU to find traction with U.S. entities, but happily welcomed the interest from international markets as well. All applicants are looking to pioneer DEI practices, champion reform needed to rehabilitate the tourism industry globally, and attract new audiences in the post-pandemic era. 

“Our participation with Travel Unity demonstrates our commitment to improve our communications to potential travelers, and create more opportunities for our ethnically diverse citizens,” said Charinya Kiatlapnachai, Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand’s New York Office. “We have always strived to welcome persons from all different backgrounds, sexual orientations and cultures without judgement. We believe that participation in CBTU will help motivate our staff, agency teams and strategic partners to champion the message of inclusivity and diversity. While we understand this will not solve every issue, it is a step in the right direction.”

The TAT New York and Los Angeles offices are proud to be participating. TAT officials further explained that while the country enjoys an enduring reputation as the “Land of Smiles” and is recognized as the first Asian tourism board to launch an initiative targeting the LGBTQ market, its standing can be easily upended without consistent education and training.

That is what drew TAT to CBTU, which requires an ‘all-in’ commitment to regular assessments, conference calls and leadership evaluations. It also speaks to how seriously TAT and other tourism bodies are facing up to DEI challenges, both in the U.S. and abroad, seeking to develop frameworks and maintain programs that address DEI matters. 

TAT will additionally dive more into the topics of diversity, acceptance and what Thailand is doing to respond to growing travel safety concerns in their own “Amazing Thailand” panel at the Virtual Travel Unity Summit 2020, taking place from October 21-23, 2020. The “Amazing Thailand” panel is scheduled for Thursday, October 22, from 10-10:30am ET.

“Having worked closely with the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s New York and LA offices for several years, I couldn’t be more proud of Thailand’s decision to level up in their message and outreach to all travelers,” said Romey Louangvilay, president of TU’s Board of Directors.

Travel organizations interested in taking part in the Certified by Travel Unity pilot program are invited to apply here until the extended deadline of October 14. CBTU is open to any travel organization that welcomes visitors, including destination marketing organizations, convention & visitor bureaus, hotels, museums, restaurants, theme parks, tour operators etc. The participants in the inaugural cohort will be announced at the Travel Unity Summit.

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