The San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA) has launched its Tourism Accelerator pilot program that is designed to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the local tourism industry by providing free membership, mentoring, education and networking opportunities to businesses owned by people of color, LGBTQ+, women and veterans.
The program – co-sponsored by the Bank of America and San Diego Gas & Electric — will offer participants a suite services valued at over $10,000.
Julie Coker, SDTA’s president and CEO, said for San Diego’s tourism industry to thrive, it needs to reflect the diversity of the destination, build equity and promote inclusion to better serve the region’s residents while making it more welcoming for visitors.
Said Coker: “The aim of this Tourism Accelerator program is to extend industry support to create real pathways to leadership for the diverse businesses in our tourism industry that shape San Diego’s vibrant cultural identity. Now more than ever, we need people with a wide range of experiences and perspectives to help rebuild our tourism industry to ensure that it is one that provides opportunity for all.”
The year-long program will have an initial cohort of 10 participants, but the SDTA is currently working to raise additional funds to extend and expand the program.
The selection criteria include:
- Applicants must be people of colour, LGBTQ+, women- or veteran-owned tourism and hospitality businesses based in the San Diego region.
- Organizations must have operated for at least one year to qualify.
- Business categories may be, but not limited to, restaurants, retail, activities and attractions, museums, transportation, and meeting and event services.
- Excluded businesses: Any type of accommodation, airline or cruise line.
- Current or former Members of the San Diego Tourism Authority (and all affiliated organizations) are not eligible.
A diverse panel will review the applications while also considering the viability of the business model, business needs and commitment to community service as part of the selection process.
The deadline to apply is Nov. 5 with those selected being notified by Nov. 15.
Go to https://www.sandiego.org/accelerator for more.