Aito’s new Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) committee is urging the association’s members and the wider travel trade to get involved in its plans.
The Specialist Travel Association (Aito) established the committee in March, with Charlie Hopkinson – Aito council member and owner of Dragoman – as the chair.
He updated members at last week’s Aito general meeting, explaining how the committee aims to works within the association, then the membership, and ultimately with all Aito members’ suppliers.
The association said: “The committee is very much at the beginning of the journey and will be looking for input from anyone within the membership who wishes to get involved, as well as from outside parties and associations with whose values and beliefs Aito aligns.”
So far, the committee has held four meetings via Zoom, as Aito aims to “listen, educate itself and continually improve and evolve in all areas of DEI, in order to progress as an association”.
Clients will increasingly want to book with businesses that consider DEI to be essential, and it will also be “hugely important” in helping members to attract and retain exceptional talent, said Aito.
There are 17 people on the committee from the membership and Aito HQ, and they cover all nine protected characteristics as identified in the Equality Act 2010.
It comprises 53% female members, 47% male, plus gender-fluid members – with four LGBTQ+ members; four ethnic minority members and two members with ethnic minority partners and children. The ages range from 30 to 73, with several different nationalities and religions, and some of the female members are also full-time working mothers.
The association’s statement of intent for DEI can be found on the Aito website and the committee has a shared working resource area for compiling useful information. Once fully established, these resources will be shared with the membership, along with training modules.