Deep Diver
Magazine Online    The Authority On African-American Conventions, Incentives, & Leisure Travel
Industry Briefs
VISIT BALTIMORE LAUNCHES WARM WELCOME PROGRAM TO SUPPORT DIVERSE TRAVELERS

Visit Baltimore , the official destination sales and marketing organization for Baltimore, has announced its new Warm Welcome Program to foster an inclusive environment for all visitors.   With more travelers prioritizing  places where they feel respected and welcomed than ever before , this program aims to establish Baltimore as a top destination for all people, regardless  of race, gender identity, nationality, ethnicity, disability and more.

Al Hutchinson

"When it comes to travel in the United States, the reality is that there are still destinations where many individuals feel unwelcome while visiting," said Al Hutchinson, President & CEO of  Visit Baltimore. "We believe Baltimore can and should be a top destination for a diverse array of travelers, no matter who you are or where you come from. Visit Baltimore wants the world to know that our city's tourism and hospitality community is committed to supporting and embracing diversity, equity and inclusion." 

With the Warm Welcome Program, Visit Baltimore is encouraging local hotels, restaurants, attractions and other businesses to sign an online pledge committing to train their staff and stakeholders to  use supportive, affirming language; inspire proactive allyship; encourage productive dialogue about race and bias; and foster active listening and learning. Upon signing the pledge, participants will receive a link to an exclusive training video created specifically for the tourism and hospitality community in Baltimore. The training is presented by Visit Baltimore and well-respected DEI expert Dr. Karsonya "Kaye" Wise Whitehead, Ph.D., founding director of The Karson Institute for Race, Peace & Social Justice on the campus of Loyola University Maryland and host of "Today with Dr. Kaye" on WEAA 88.9 FM.

Dr. Karsonya "Kaye" Wise Whitehead, Ph.D.

"We are in a moment where we must take up and answer the most persistent questions around the ways in which equity and diversity intersect within a city that wants to be seen as both inclusive and welcoming," said Dr. Whitehead. "This is a moment for Baltimore City to step forward and take the lead on these conversations. I am delighted to partner with Visit Baltimore to provide the diversity training and policy recommendations for how we, as a city and as individuals, can move forward. For far too long in this country, there has been a concern that the American story does not include all voices and perspectives. The work that Visit Baltimore is doing is designed to challenge those beliefs, to expand the American story, and to make a place for everyone to be invited to the table." 

Once an organization completes the training with their entire staff, Visit Baltimore will provide a Warm Welcome kit that includes a window cling and other display items to show visitors they are seen and respected in that place of business. Additional DEI training modules will be provided by Visit Baltimore on an ongoing basis as appropriate, especially to smaller businesses without the resources to fund their own initiatives.

Mayor Brandon M. Scott

"Tourism is a key part of our economy and central to Baltimore's recovery," said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. "I'm thrilled to support Visit Baltimore's Warm Welcome Program to promote diversity and inclusion in our city." 

The Warm Welcome Program is just one part of Visit Baltimore's larger efforts to broaden its diversity marketing initiatives. Most recently, Visit Baltimore announced a new Data Analytics Fellowship sponsored by Tourism Economics that offers  emerging leaders with diverse ethnic backgrounds firsthand experience working in the data, technology and business intelligence sector within the destination marketing community.  Earlier this year, Visit Baltimore announced selections for its 2021 Diversity Apprenticeship Program sponsored by Guinness Open Gate Brewery, which will provide 10 new hospitality career pathways for underrepresented populations in Baltimore. In 2020, the organization offered  DEI trainings for Baltimore tourism and hospitality leaders and its staff as well as introduced a special free BoP pass, which unlocks exclusive deals and discounts to Black-owned businesses as well as museums and attractions that celebrate Baltimore's deep African American history and heritage. To learn more about how Visit Baltimore embraces and celebrates diversity, please visit  B altimore.org/Committed-To-Diversity-Equity-Inclusion .   

For more on how the Warm Welcome Program works, visit the program landing page at  Baltimore.org/WarmWelcome
 
About Visit Baltimore  

Visit Baltimore is the official sales and marketing arm for the City of Baltimore. The 501(c)(6) organization generates economic benefits for stakeholders through the attraction of convention, group and leisure visitors. In 2019, spending by travelers totaled $6 billion in direct spending throughout the city, supporting 86,827 total jobs and generating $750 million in state and city tax revenues.   For more information, please visit  Baltimore.org  

About the Karson Institute for Race, Peace & Social Justice  

The Karson Institute for Race, Peace & Social Justice, located on the campus of Loyola University Maryland, provides a scholarly space for professors, students, social justice workers, and activists to come together to research, discuss, debate, and explore topics of inequality, injustice, and racial inequity in the United States. The Karson Institute consists of three centers: the Center for Public Engagement that hosts outward-facing monthly conversations on race and equity; the Center for Teaching and Learning that provides training and resources in culturally responsive teaching and diversity, equity, and inclusion to K-12th grade teachers; and the Center for Research and Culture which provides spaces for junior and senior scholars to collaborate on research projects. Karsonya "Kaye" Wise Whitehead, Ph.D., associate professor of communication and African and African American studies, founded and directs the cent

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