Visit Baltimore, the official destination sales and marketing organization for the Maryland city, has launched its new “Warm Welcome Program” to foster an inclusive environment for visitors. With more travelers prioritizing destinations where they feel respected and welcomed, this initiative aims to establish Baltimore as a top destination for all people, irrespective of nationality, race, gender identity, ethnicity, disability and more.
With the “Warm Welcome Program,” Visit Baltimore is encouraging local attractions, hotels, restaurants and other businesses to sign an online pledge committing to train their staff and stakeholders to use supportive, affirming language; encourage productive dialogue about race and bias; inspire proactive allyship; and foster active listening and learning.
Once participants sign the online pledge, they will receive a link to a training video created specifically for the tourism and hospitality community in Baltimore. The training is provided by Visit Baltimore and well-known diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) expert Dr. Karsonya “Kaye” Wise Whitehead, Ph.D., founding director of The Karson Institute for Race, Peace & Social Justice on the campus of Loyola University Maryland and host of “Today with Dr. Kaye” on WEAA 88.9 FM.
Once an organization completes the training with their entire staff, Visit Baltimore will provide a “Warm Welcome” kit that includes a window cling and other display items to show visitors that they are seen and respected in that place of business. Additional DEI training modules will be provided by Visit Baltimore on an ongoing basis, as appropriate, especially to smaller businesses without the resources to fund their own initiatives.
The “Warm Welcome Program” is just one part of the education and training foundation’s larger efforts to broaden its diversity marketing initiatives. Most recently, Visit Baltimore announced a new Data Analytics Fellowship sponsored by Tourism Economics that offers emerging leaders with diverse ethnic backgrounds first-hand experience working in the data, technology and business intelligence sector within the destination marketing community.
Earlier this year, Visit Baltimore announced selections for its 2021 Diversity Apprenticeship Program sponsored by Guinness Open Gate Brewery, which will provide 10 new hospitality career pathways for underrepresented populations in Baltimore.
In 2020, the organization offered DEI trainings for Baltimore tourism and hospitality leaders and its staff, and also introduced a free “BoP” pass, which unlocks exclusive deals and discounts to Black-owned businesses, museums and attractions that celebrate Baltimore’s deep African-American history and heritage.
To learn more, visit www.baltimore.org.