Embracing Social Inclusion: A Pathway to Community Vitality

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<span>Embracing Social Inclusion: A Pathway to Community Vitality </span>
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Sophia Hyder Hock explains why DI is making the shift from ‘EDI’ to ‘Social Inclusion’ in advance of the official launch at the MarComm Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah.  

The path toward understanding the importance of diverse perspectives and creating an inclusive culture has never been an easy one. As humans we constantly grapple with wanting to belong, finding meaningful connection, and being ourselves. We also find it hard to empathize with others because of all the noise and societal biases that exist in our world.  

While topics pertaining to equity, diversity, and inclusion have been at the forefront of mainstream media and discussion for over three years in the travel industry, these issues have existed for centuries. We are at a place right now where a lot of fatigue and siloing are taking place once again. Many are saying they’ve taken DEI training, are done with ‘that’ work, or there are more pressing issues that need to be dealt with immediately than DEI work. Our shift aims to connect the dots between these pressing issues and inclusion work.  

At first thought, it may be difficult to connect the dots between social inclusion and the critical issues that destinations are handling on a daily basis. As you delve deeper, you will find inclusion, empathy, and belonging, are at the core of these critical issues. It serves as the foundation upon which we can understand systemic barriers to progress, build alliances, foster empathetic communication, and drive sustainable economic growth.  

By weaving inclusion into the fabric of our work, we address a range of societal topics that affect the economic vitality of our destination 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.  

That’s why Destinations International is making the shift from ‘EDI’ to ‘Social Inclusion.’ Our refreshed inclusion website will include our working definition of inclusion, explain the reason for this shift in greater detail, and how we are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The image included in this post will be dynamic; users will be able to click on each topic to find dedicated resources designed to support destination organizations with their inclusion efforts. The official launch will be unveiled later this month at the MarComm Summit in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

I would like to emphasize that this shift does not erase the important work we have been building upon over the past five years. It amplifies our efforts 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.  

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 our inclusion resources, click here.  

About the Authors

Sophia Hyder Hock

Chief Diversity Officer
Destinations International

Sophia Hyder Hock has spent 20+ years developing tailored strategy, training, facilitation, and coaching services on topics pertaining to diversity and social inclusion, gender empowerment, community engagement and outreach, emotional intelligence, and cultural awareness for clients in the international development and travel industries. She integrates human centered design thinking, and mindfulness practices into her work as a holistic way to develop sustainable outcomes that align with business performance and the enabling environment. Operationally, Ms. Hyder Hock has experience creating and managing budgets of $145M+ for development programs around the world.

Sophia has spoken at universities, travel industry events, and entrepreneurial platforms about how to implement inclusion initiatives in a practical and sustainable manner. She has traveled to 40+ countries and is always excited to learn about people, history, and cultural nuances.

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