Inclusivity should become a critical concept for our industry – we believe that incentive travel changes behavior and builds motivation at all level of the organization.

The Bangkok Manifesto, created at the SITE Global Conference in Bangkok, Thailand in January, comprises 10 statements developed by incentive industry thought leaders on the industry’s true purpose in the business world today.

The Manifesto has been published in hard copy with the addition of written commentary on each of the 10 statements from industry experts in several disciplines–DMC and DMO sectors, hospitality sector, third party planners and corporate end-users. Each week we will take a deep dive into each one, thanks to our industry experts: This week we look at number seven on inclusivity with commentary from Carina Bauer, President-Elect, SITE Foundation, CEO, IMEX Group.

By the simple action of bringing inclusivity to the fore we (meaning everyone working in or with the incentive travel industry) – make one fact abundantly clear: Without focusing on it with purposeful intention and starting with the end in mind, true inclusivity rarely happens!

Rather than berate ourselves for perceived failures or moments of blindness or ignorance, I – and the whole IMEX family – are excited by the opportunity we now have to make a positive difference.

It’s time.

The industry is different. The world is different. We’re all more connected than ever before and yet, when it comes to understanding each other’s needs, we’re often moving too fast to truly understand or pay attention.

Travel, by nature, is one of the best ways to foster cultural sensitivity. Immersive incentive travel programs pivoting on authentic destination experiences are amongst the best ways to foster understanding and build empathy.

All change starts slowly and the biggest changes of all are founded on the small decisions we make every single day, but first we have to remove any shame, embarrassment and awkwardness about what inclusivity means.

For example, addressing the language we use in discussing inclusivity. How do we discuss the issues and details if we’re worried about causing offence? What education and insights do teams need before they can make better decisions, plan better programmes and engage in more open conversations with suppliers, partners, destinations? If we combine this awareness with purposeful, guided action plus a heartfelt desire to create a different kind of future; if we empower – and most importantly teach – everyone in our organisations to see and experience the world with empathy; if we simply start to pay attention to our own unconscious limits and bias, then, yes, we can change our industry for good.