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Diversity and inclusion in travel

Turning the dial from nice-to-have to business critical

In an industry where the customer reigns supreme, diversity and inclusion can give your business a massive competitive edge – connecting more closely with customers, becoming a magnet for prized talent and ultimately boosting your bottom line.

Drawing on a far-reaching survey of businesses from across the travel industry, a new report produced by PwC in partnership with TTG Media looks behind the PR to see how far travel has really come and what more needs to be done to make diversity and inclusion a reality.

How far has the industry come?

The survey was designed to gauge maturity of travel businesses across four key dimensions of diversity and inclusion (see graphic). The result is a progress evaluation from simplistic to leading in each of the four dimensions:


1. Diversity and inclusion strategy

2. Leadership and tone from the top

3. HR processes

4. Other diversity and inclusion initiatives

Gauging the extent to which formal strategies and policies are in place, associated metrics are published and individuals are identified as being responsible.

Gauging the relative passion for and direct involvement of the leadership team in promoting diversity and inclusion, and building them into the management of the business.

Gauging the extent to which key HR policies such as recruitment and career progression programmes for under-represented groups are in place.


Includes networks for under-represented groups, awareness training in areas such as unconscious bias and involvement in industry campaigns.

* This includes a range of different firms in the travel sector such as recruitment, training and PR

How does travel compare to other industries?

Travel is a long way behind the 70% par rating for other industries surveyed by PwC. Behind the average scores, there is a wide gulf in the ratings, with a number of travel companies scoring ‘advanced’ across the board and others ‘simplistic’. With the travel industry lagging behind other sectors, the need for a rethink of attitudes to diversity and inclusion and action to tackle barriers is becoming ever more pressing.

Travellers on a top of a mountain with a sea view

How can your organisation accelerate progress?

The experience of companies making the most progress highlights the importance of ensuring that diversity and inclusion get the same direction and accountability that would be applied to any other strategic priority. In practice, this comes down to five key pillars for accelerating change.

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1. Align with your business strategy

Treating diversity and inclusion as business critical is the starting point. You can then build them into the fundamentals of strategic management, not just talent selection and progression, but also business planning, marketing and operational management.

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2. Provide clear direction and promote accountability from the top

Executive teams set the tone for the organisation and ensure diversity and inclusion are recognised as business priorities. This requires more than just statements of intent. It’s important to ensure that someone within the leadership team is given the job of making it happen, and held to account.

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3. Set realistic objectives and action plan

Translate the headline objectives into an action plan that sets out measurable goals and how they will be achieved in practice.

4. Measure progress with real data

To support the action plan, there should be appropriate data, analytics and tracking to gauge progress, target intervention and drive accountability – what gets measured gets done.

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5. Tell it as it is

Tell it as it is by showing the gaps, what the business is doing about them and the objectives to achieve.

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