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How A Global Travel Community Aims To Help The Travel Industry Become Less Racist

Wanderful is hosting its second event in a three-part series on anti-racist work while traveling … [+] Industry.

Jessica Scranton for WITS from Wanderful

Following the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (among countless others), people around the world marched in protests against Black Lives Matter, calling for change. Individuals considered how they could benefit from racism and how they could transfer that power to the oppressed. Brands and companies rated how they can not only promote diversity but also actively act in an anti-racist manner.

And the travel industry is an industry that has to look at itself long and hard.

“When people first started traveling, much of it was colonialism,” said Beth Santos, founder and CEO of Wanderful, a global community of female travelers. “We don’t talk about that enough when we travel. Not only is it great to connect with other cultures and places, but there is a fundamental history of a place and real exploitation that continues even today, especially among blacks, indigenous people, and colored people. “

Panel discussion about women

Wanderful hosts a lot of events and prioritizes diversity in their panels. Your latest event, Moving … [+] Forward is a town hall style meeting to discuss racism in the travel industry.

Jessica Scranton for WITS from Wanderful

Later that week, Wanderful is hosting the second part of a series of anti-racism talks launched by Karisma Shackelford, director of Wanderful Creators. The discussion, A Town Hall Against Racism for the Travel Industry, is open to travelers, creators, and those in the tourism industry. The goal is to check the pulse of the work done and the work still to be done.

“We had some very uncomfortable conversations at the last event,” Karisma admitted. “For the first time, people had to deal with identifying the things that they might not even have realized they were doing, but those things were racist.”

These discussions are not easy to hold, but they are necessary. The United States is more diverse than ever, and Karisma pointed out that non-white children make up the majority of the younger generation in many US states. These moving forward town halls give the travel industry a chance to learn from missteps and create a better future for travelers and locals alike.

Karisma Shackelford, wife

Karisma Shackelford, the creator of progress.


Wanderful released its key takeaways from the first event, and the goals are set to be re-examined and re-evaluated in the second installment.

“The commitment to anti-racism and social justice is not something you do once,” added Beth. “You don’t go to an event and then say, ‘Check the box, I’m done. ‘This is something to think about every day of your life. “

While Wanderful is geared towards those in the travel industry, like tour operators and bloggers, anyone who loves travel and wants to be a better traveler can participate – and indeed encourage them.

“You will go away with authorization,” said Karisma. “It is important that travelers understand how much power they actually have when it comes to decisions that are made in the travel industry. Black travelers alone represent approximately $ 63 billion in the travel space, so taking that dollar away from these brands is important. “

Beth and Karisma are happy that other travel brands are active and anti-racist. They praised Tripadvisor for hosting events, talking and looking for solutions. In a world where a bold landing page on a website or a shareable social media post can disguise itself as anti-racist work, the company looks inward and encourages discussion among employees. Beth added that Intrepid Travel has always put social impact high on their list of priorities when considering how racing impacts a travel experience.

Women on Zoom Call

Moving Forward is a series of virtual events open to any gender.


Moving Forward: Part 2 of 3 is free to visit and open to everyone of any gender. Participants can expect the opportunity to consider actionable steps to change the face of travel for the better.

“As a mixed color woman, I opened the first event where I talked about this divide I have within,” Karisma said. “I want people to wake up and realize that we have to start holding hands and doing this together because we are a colorful world.”

“I think the people attending this event are brave,” added Beth. “They want to do better and they want to activate other people to do better. It’s a really great moment for us to have a learning opportunity and a connection opportunity that I think in many ways we are trying to travel for experience. “

Theresa Christine is a freelance travel writer based in Los Angeles, CA. You can listen to their travel, culture and feminism podcast, The Wild and Curious Podcast, or follow their adventures by subscribing to their newsletter here.

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