Taking Action: Hospitality DEI Initiatives to Engage and Empower

Cogwheel Marketing
Images by Cogwheel Marketing

Previously, we published the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Defined article by Gissell Moronta, which gave you an understanding of the terminology and why DEI is important.

The next step in learning more about DEI is to get involved. It doesn’t matter where you start, but you need to begin. We have compiled a comprehensive list of hospitality resources for you to get involved.

Hospitality DEI Organizations

These organizations outwardly support and create awareness for underrepresented communities in hospitality that allow anyone to participate. It is not applicable to organizations with internal departments or programs that are intended for employees only.

African Association of Women in Tourism & Hospitality

AAWTH is made up of African-descent female hospitality and tourism professionals working in all aspects of the tourism and hospitality industries. Driving force in the tourism and hospitality industries, advocating for female leaders.

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Black Travel Alliance

A new group of Black Travel Content Creators from across the globe. Their three pillars of the community are alliance, amplification, and accountability. As travel authors, bloggers, broadcasters, journalists, photographers, podcasters, social media influencers, and vloggers, they unify to amplify. They also aim to provide training and business support to our members, as well as hold destinations and travel brands accountable on the issue of diversity in travel marketing and storytelling.

Erskine Green Training Institute

Run by The Arc that trains disabled people to work in hotel, food service and healthcare support environments. It, along with its attached 150-room Courtyard Muncie at Horizon Convention Center hotel, is an immersive learning environment.

ForWard Leadership programs

Previously Castell Project. Has two programs the BUILD and ELEVATE that help accelerate careers of female leaders in the hospitality industry by cultivating strong leadership identities and preparing recognized organizational leaders for high-level advancement.

Global Refuge

Companies that are committed to hiring refugee talent and willing to create an inclusive and welcoming environment reap the benefits of a strengthened workforce and economy powered by hard-working, dedicated employees. Hiring refugees is not just good for business – it’s good for everyone, that’s why they started a Preferred Refugee Employer Program to help you get involved.

Hospitality For Hope Initiative from AHLA

“AHLA’s Hospitality for Hope Initiative” was created to boost collaboration between the hotel industry and local, state, and federal governments to help employees, communities across the country, and the industry during the unprecedented COVID-19 health crisis and beyond by matching up available rooms with those in need including health workers and more recently, displaced persons and refugees.


Strategy and Education for Inclusive Hospitality. Travelers of diverse genders and sexual orientations are a prized demographic in some destinations, and criminalized in others, giving every tourism business an opportunity or a challenge in the LGBTQ+ market. Or both. As diversity and inclusion becomes a priority for all global business, hospitality and customer service organizations struggle to find ways to incorporate these values in their own missions and day-to-day operations. HospitableMe helps destinations and brands define those opportunities and challenges, and strategize ways to address them.

IGLTA – International LGBTQ+ Travel Association

IGLTA was founded in 1983 and is the world’s leading network of LGBTQ+ welcoming tourism businesses. They provide free travel resources and information while continuously working to promote equality and safety within LGBTQ+ tourism worldwide. IGLTA’s members include LGBTQ+ friendly accommodations, transport, destinations, service providers, travel agents, tour operators, events and travel media located in over 80 countries.

Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada

The Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada (ITAC) is a non-profit organization that is committed to growing and promoting a sustainable, culturally rich Indigenous tourism industry in Canada.

Latino Hotel Association

The Latino Hotel Association is dedicated to serving those who want to learn, grow and succeed in hospitality! They educate and nurture passionate individuals in the hospitality industry with a focus on growing Latino and Hispanic leaders. We are committed to expanding the community of Latino Hotel owners and operators. We are a family-focused and inclusive association.

MPAHT – Meeting Planners Against Human Trafficking

A group of dedicated conference/event planners, hotel sales professionals and audio visual professionals who are raising awareness about human trafficking.

National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals

The National Coalition of Black Meeting Professionals (NCBMP), founded in 1983, is a non-profit organization dedicated primarily to the training needs of African American meeting planners. The organization is committed to the improvement of the meetings, conferences, exhibitions, and conventions they manage. Members of NCBMP include meeting planners from numerous business, civil rights, church and fraternal organizations. Associate membership is available to individuals who represent hotels, convention bureaus, city government officers, airlines and other suppliers who offer services to the meeting and convention community.

NSMH – National Society of Minorities in Hospitality

Educate, encourage, and empower minority students interested in pursuing hospitality career.

Open Doors Organization

Their goal is creating a society in which all persons with disabilities have the same consumer opportunities as everyone else. They aspire to teach businesses how to succeed in the disability market, while simultaneously empowering the disability community in travel and tourism.

She Has a Deal

She Has a Deal offers inspiration and education to achieve their goal — increasing the number of women hotel owners and developers. Their programs channel the power of collaboration and mentorship by connecting experts and newbies, experienced investors and hotel operations leaders. They create pathways to hotel ownership by exposing participants to the hard-to-find details needed to successfully source, analyze, and close hotel real estate investment deals.

Sustainable Hospitality Alliance

The Sustainable Hospitality Alliance brings together engaged hospitality companies and the wider value chain along with strategic partners and uses the collective power of the industry to deliver impact locally and on a global scale.

The Tent Partnership for Refugees

Tent is made up of more than 400 major multinational companies committed to hiring and economically integrating refugees in other ways.

Thrive Women in Travel

Women in Travel THRIVE is a proud member of the Women in Hospitality Leadership Alliance, a gathering of organizations all aligned on advancing women in hospitality.

Tourism Diversity Matters

Tourism Diversity Matters (TDM), founded as the collaborative leader of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives and concepts that can address the blind spots of ethnic disparities and provide decision-makers in the tourism and events industry access, resources, and tactics to develop more effective Diversity & Inclusion strategies that will engage and retain a diverse workforce.


A vision rehab agency in Buffalo NY that has a residential training program for people with disabilities to work in hospitality. (VIA used to be funded by the Hilton Foundation but they changed focus so VIA less hospitality-focused training now.)

WiHTL – Diversity in Hospitality Travel and Leisure

WiHTL is devoted to increasing women’s and ethnic minorities’ representation at all levels and in leadership positions across Hospitality, Travel and Leisure (HTL)

Note: We are not endorsed by any organization nor do we promise this is a comprehensive list. It is not being monitored ongoing, but please contact us if you want to be added.

Hospitality DEI White Papers and Additional Resources

Here are some other resources to help educate yourself on DEI initiatives.

2024-03-07 Hospitality DEI White Papers and Additional Resources

Tags: DEI, Engage and Empower, hospitality



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