As I observe the events unfolding across the United States, I have been thinking back to one of the most talked-about sessions from Arival 2018: Akila McConnell, founder of Unexpected Atlanta, gave a very straight talk on how her company tackles the issue of racism in their history tours of her hometown.
Akila talks plainly about how operators can confront challenging and emotionally charged issues directly with their guests. She also outlines steps we can all take to make our experiences and our communication more inclusive and welcoming to people of all backgrounds.
Perhaps most of all, I’m reminded of the importance of our industry. Yes, much of what we all do is focused on leisure, on pleasure, on the things we do with our disposable income. But the greatest travel experiences are anything but disposable. They are also transformational.
However, transformation is hard. The greatest experiences challenge us, connect us, teach us, make us grow beyond ourselves… they make us uncomfortable.
“People should be uncomfortable,” said Akila.
Another line stands out for me from Akila’s talk: “We do not flinch.” Our industry has been experiencing such a difficult time, and with many challenges still ahead. Together, let’s not flinch.