For a brief moment in January and February 2022, as we seemed to be coming out of the worst of the global pandemic, it looked like we were on track for a powerful reset that would usher in a new era of global tourism. The era would include a more thoughtful, careful, valuable, and intentional approach to taking the things that connect people and places and using them to make the world a better place.
I still believe that’s possible and that tourism indeed makes the world a better place — when done well.
But the war in Ukraine has sucked all the air out of the room; it’s a tragic sucker punch at the end of an already arduous journey.
We can’t let that stop us.
In my opinion, tourism done well, in a way that shares, amplifies, and ennobles places and people, is the antithesis of war.
Sustainability, regeneration, engaging our communities, and breaking down the barriers that stop us from being inclusive, being truly equitable, and celebrating diversity all matter now more than ever.
In May 2020, the death of an unarmed man at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer sent a shockwave that reverberated around the world.
At the terrible cost of his life, George Floyd ripped open the debate on equity, diversity, and inclusion. He catapulted it into the central consciousness of so many people worldwide. His tragic death created the opportunity for meaningful change, and we see so much of that change now beginning to take hold. We can’t waste that opportunity. We can’t go backward. We can’t tolerate intolerance, inequity, invasion, and violence.
Tourism, done well, can make a difference.
There are many ways to describe Sophia Hyder Hock. She’s a successful entrepreneur, a vanguard of equity, diversity, and inclusion, and the newly appointed chief diversity officer at Destinations International.
Sophia has spent 20 years developing strategy, facilitating, and coaching on diversity and social inclusion, gender empowerment, community engagement, emotional intelligence, and cultural awareness for clients worldwide.
I think Sophia said it best herself when she wrote, “I am here to share a journey of self-exploration … and to decipher what it means to be a human being in an honest and mindful way.”