Sophia Hyder Hock, Myght Contributor

15 Reasons Why Multiculturalism Is A Huge Asset For Tour Operators

Diversity in Travel

People are craving human connection, looking for inspiration, and seeking ways to transform their mindsets in ways that we have never experienced in our lifetime. As a tour operator, your organization plays a vital role in the economic recovery of your destination through the promotion of experiences unique to your cultural identities and multicultural perspective.

The multicultural representation of management staff and tour guides can lead to impactful growth opportunities in three ways. As a tour operator, your company has the ability to provide jobs to local populations, share untold stories about local cultures, and educate visitors in a responsible and respectful manner.

Below, we’ll highlight why multiculturalism matters as a tour operator, and we’ll suggest ways to develop a strategy that supports internal operations, empowers tour guides, and attracts new and recurring visitors.  

Why Multiculturalism Matters

There are three overarching benefits of seeking and representing multicultural perspectives as a tour operator.

Economic Growth and Recovery: Incorporating personnel with different viewpoints into your workforce tends to increase innovation and opportunity for growth. Employees who come from multicultural backgrounds view the world differently and can provide their unique perspectives on a common goal. A diverse workforce provides greater insight into new customer experiences and can attract new visitors.

Diversity of Storytelling: Every destination holds a rich and dynamic history that should be reflected through different viewpoints. As a tour operator, your organization has the opportunity to uncover these perspectives through authentic storytelling experiences represented by people from those populations.

In Colombia, Impulse Travel promotes tours that let travelers experience the country from a local, authentic perspective. The team works closely with local communities, tour operators, and purpose-driven projects to help them tell their stories to travelers. This model empowers tour guides to base their accounts on what they have personally experienced in their countries, a viewpoint that is truly rare and cannot be duplicated.

Increased Visitorship Through Responsible Education: Offering multicultural tour experiences elevates the connection between your destination and the guest. Travelers want to learn and be inspired by the places they choose to visit. They want to feel welcome and safe. Tour operators have a unique opportunity to curate experiences that enrich and connect diverse communities to travelers in a manner that garners respect, highlights inclusion and acceptance, and creates cultural awareness.

For example, My Bhutan’s main video captures the essence of Bhutan’s heritage. This tour operator provides a diverse range of offerings to their visitors through imagery, narration, and an in-depth Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section that educates and prepares all visitors for their travel to Bhutan.

How To Integrate Multicultural Perspectives As A Tour Operator

You should take three things into consideration when you’re aiming for multicultural approaches in your tour operation: improvements in management and operations, recruitment of tour operators from various backgrounds, and strategies to attract new and existing visitors in an authentic way. 

Management and Operations

Regardless of size, your operation can always integrate improvements and multicultural perspectives. Begin by reviewing your current structure through a diverse and inclusive lens and identify areas where representation should be broadened. Consider the following areas:

      1. Revisit why you started or joined this business and consider the importance of your company within the travel industry. Are your.  Our mission and vision reflective of the communities you aim to represent?

      2. Review your internal goals. Were they developed in a collaborative manner?

      3. Review the makeup of your staff members. Does your staff represent the full range of cultures & perspectives in your destination?

      4. Are your partnerships reflective of your diverse community? Do they include small operators, diverse backgrounds, and a range of identities?

      5. Are experiences developed by engaging the communities you aim to represent on your tours?

Tour Guides

Tour guides are vital to the success of your organization; they represent its vision, and they’re responsible for creating an impactful experience between the destination and the visitor. The importance of this role tends to get overlooked; consider these tips to establish a strong rapport with your guides:

      1. Take the initiative to listen and learn about the different identities that represent your destination. Recruit guides who represent these  cultures and viewpoints.

      2. Empower and encourage your guides by offering resources and educational opportunities to learn from; establish a way for guides to communicate and learn from each other and your team.

      3. Design cultural awareness and professional development trainings to build confidence and support ongoing learning.

      4. Encourage your guides to document the quality of their tour experience. What went well and what could be improved? Are there  community members who should be represented?

      5. Let your guides know how much you value who they are, their perspective, and their professionalism.

New and Existing Visitors

Authenticity and cultural connection enhance customer experiences. Tour operators can attract new and existing customers through genuine experiences that promote the diversity and inclusivity of local communities. Consider these tips to guide your market strategy:

      1. Who are your customers, and what kind of feedback have they provided about their past experiences?

      2. What multicultural misconnections have you noticed throughout the customer experience, and how can you improve these connections  for future experiences?

      3. How can you inspire your new and existing visitors to respect your local heritage?

      4. To attract new customers, do you have a clear message that promotes acceptance of all your local community members and visitors?

      5. What kind of communication avenues are you using to reach your audience? Consider capturing local stories through video, imagery,  written articles, and voice narratives to connect future visitors to your community and experiences.

Multiculturalism is an asset for the local economy, local heritage, and for new and returning visitors. Your tour operation has the ability to make a positive impact for the community through thoughtful participatory planning and introspection. I highly encourage you to make time to consider the value of connection, perspectives, and heritage as you plan the future of your business. The benefits will be well worth your time.

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