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DESTINATIONS INTERNATIONAL RELEASES NEW WEAPONIZATION OF TRAVEL RESEARCH AND TOOLKITS FOR DESTINATION ORGANIZATIONS AND MEETING PLANNERS


Destinations International recently released new research on the Weaponization of Travel as well as two toolkits for entities facing travel boycotts and bans.

This most recent research led by Destinations International and funded in part by the Destinations International Foundation, includes both qualitative and quantitative research of meeting planners. This research led to the creation of the two toolkits for dealing with travel boycotts and bans - one for destination organizations and one for meeting and event planners. The toolkits were conducted in partnership with Meetings Mean Business and U.S. Travel Association.

Travel boycotts and bans have become increasingly popular tools for public officials, corporate leaders and grassroots activists to undermine the passage of controversial legislation. The weaponization of travel through meeting cancellations - and more broadly, the banning or boycotting of destinations - can negatively impact the local economy and hurt innocent bystanders such as travel industry employees in the process.

Because of the negative effects travel boycotts and bans have on both destination organizations and meeting planners, Destinations International started and led research beginning in 2017 measuring the effectiveness of travel boycotts and bans toward all travelers. The initial research showed that the financial effects of travel boycotts and bans vary by destination and length but add up to the billions. U.S. states that have been targeted by a ban or boycott saw a negative impact of 11 percent.

After the initial findings of the 2017 research, Destinations International has continued additional research on the effectiveness of travel boycotts and bans relating to key stakeholders including destination organizations, meeting and event planners and venue managers. This research was made possible because of the coalition of industry associations such as MPI, PCMA, Meetings Mean Business and IAVM.

"Destinations International not only opposes travel boycotts and bans, we want to defeat them," said Don Welsh. President and CEO of Destinations International. "We are the only entity in the travel and tourism industry who has done this type of research. For this round of research and to build the toolkits, we were thrilled to partner with industry leaders such as MPI, PCMA, IAVM and Meetings Mean Business."

About the Toolkits:

Destination Organization Toolkit: Whether for business or leisure, travel was once a question of where to go, when to go and how much to spend. Now, disputes over social legislation have given fuel to some positioning travel as a political act. Where an individual or organization decides to travel or host a future meeting can be a sign of direct support (or critique) of state-based policies. This toolkit isexclusive for destination organization members of Destinations International and U.S. Travel Association and will be available on both of websites behind the member portals.

The Meeting Planner Toolkit: In today's political climate, travel bans and boycotts are increasingly popular tools for public officials, corporate leaders and grassroots activists to undermine the passage of controversial legislation. In Indiana, North Carolina and destinations across the country, meeting and event planners have been caught in the crosshairs. This toolkit provides messaging, materials and alternatives to help meeting and event planners deal with a travel ban or boycott proactively. This toolkit is available to the public and will be promoted to all meeting and event planners across the globe.

For more information, visit destinationsinternational.org/reports/weaponization-travel-study.

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