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Tourism is the most diverse industry in the world


Africa Travel Week






Tourism is the most diverse industry in the world

Cape Town, 13 April 2022 – By design, tourism is the most diverse industry in the world. That was the main focus at the session on Diversity and Inclusion at WTM Africa 2022.

“Tourism is the most diverse employer globally by virtue of who we are and what we do. Inherently, diversity is a factor that predicates the success of our industry,” said Ndumiso Mngomezulu, Managing Director Bold: House of Brave. “Travellers look for diversity: they seek out different experiences, languages, cultures through their travels.”

Unfortunately, when diversity is not achieved, it reflects on the reputation of the entire destination, Mngomezulu added. “If travellers don’t recognise themselves on your website or if they walk into a hotel and experience micro-aggressions in the form of staff bias towards them, it affects how they feel about the destination. This is often hard to pinpoint, and a feeling travellers have. It reflects in the way people connect and do things.”

To overcome these challenges, Mngomezulu explained a lot of training and ‘unlearning’ will be required. “As an industry, we need to communicate with people at their level to achieve meaningful change. We shouldn’t lecture; we should communicate and educate as people are often not even cognisant of their own bias.”

However, Mngomezulu also warned the conversation needs to take place at a South African level. “Before you’re a product owner, you’re a South African. Diversity and inclusion challenges happen throughout our society. If you’re not dealing with civilian education, you’re just putting a plaster on the wound.”

Tarryn Tomlinson, Founder and CEO: Able2Travel, agreed and explained that as a person with a disability herself, she often finds that hotels that claim to be accessible very often are not. Most important for her is to overcome stigmas and change mindsets. “Some people are scared to address us, others are overly enthusiastic and just push our wheelchair uninvited, while others still will infantilise you. Training will go a long way in alleviating this problem,” she said, adding that hospitality establishments should update their websites with relevant and inclusive marketing material as well as information for people with disabilities.

A lot needs to be done to make travel and tourism PR more inclusive, added Mandisa Magwaxaza, Co-Founder of Locals Who Wonder. She explained that properties should partner with diverse businesses to create a diverse tourism industry reflective of South Africa as a country. “If we look at our society, tourism is a product of colonisation. Our industry still reflects that today, and we need to take a sober look at that.”

According to Magwaxaza, we need to bridge the social and cultural divide in tourism through experiential training. A housekeeper in a 5-star hotel needs to have experienced what it’s like to stay at a luxury hotel and eat at a luxury restaurant. “We need to invest and create tourists out of the people in the industry,” she said.

Mngomezulu concluded the session by saying that key was to communicate authentically and with meaning. He said: “Diversity is bigger than your product. It’s your #countryduty.”


Issued by: Big Ambitions

Contact: Dorine Reinstein

Tel: +27 83 278 8994


World Travel Market (WTM) Portfolio comprises leading travel events, online portals and virtual platforms across four continents, generating more than $7.5 billion of industry deals. The events are:

WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. More than 6,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa’s leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors.

Next event: Monday 11 to Wednesday 13 April 2022 – Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town

About ATW Connect: Africa Travel Week’s digital arm, is a virtual hub packed to the seams with interesting content, industry news and insights, and the opportunity to hear from experts on a variety of topics in our new monthly webinar series. All with the aim to keep all of us in the travel and tourism industry connected. ATW Connect focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology.

Arabian Travel Market (ATM), now on its 29th year, is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2021 showcased over 1,300 exhibiting companies from 62 countries across nine halls at Dubai World Trade Centre, with visitors from more than 140 countries over the four days. Arabian Travel Market is part of Arabian Travel Week. #IdeasArriveHere

Next in-person event: Sunday 8 to Wednesday 11 May 2022, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai

Next virtual event: Tuesday 17th and Wednesday 19th May 2022

Arabian Travel Week is a festival of events taking place within and alongside Arabian Travel Market 2022. Providing a renewed focus for the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector, it includes ATM Virtual, ILTM Arabia, Arival Dubai, Influencers’ events and activations, as well as Travel Forward. It also features the ATM Buyer Forums, ATM Speed Networking Events as well as a series of country summits.

WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. Around 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating over £3.71 billion in travel industry contracts.

Next live event: Monday 7 to 9 November 2022 at ExCel London

London Travel Week, brought to you by WTM London, is the one-stop-shop for event hosts and visitors to be able to shape the next 12 months of travel together. The festival of events supports the global travel and tourism industry through capturing invaluable news and enhancing industry connections.

Next event: Friday 4 November – Friday 11 November 2022 – Around London

WTM Global Hub, is the new WTM Portfolio online portal created to connect and support travel industry professionals around the world. The resource hub offers the latest guidance and knowledge to help exhibitors, buyers and others in the travel industry face the challenges of the global coronavirus pandemic. WTM Portfolio is tapping into its global network of experts to create content for the hub.

About RX (Reed Exhibitions)

RX is in the business of building businesses for individuals, communities and organisations. We elevate the power of face to face events by combining data and digital products to help customers learn about markets, source products and complete transactions at over 400 events in 22 countries across 43 industry sectors. RX is passionate about making a positive impact on society and is fully committed to creating an inclusive work environment for all our people. RX is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.


RELX is a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. The Group serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in about 40 countries. It employs over 33,000 people, of whom almost half are in North America. The shares of RELX PLC, the parent company, are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX. The market capitalisation is approximately £33bn, €39bn, $47bn.*

*Note: Current market capitalisation can be found at