Comment: Promoting equality is not just for show

We recently held a Travel Weekly Business Breakfast on the subject of equality in travel – why holidaymakers should be accepted and feel welcomed regardless of their gender, sexuality, ethnicity or ability (pages 68-72).

It was, without question, one of the most lively and engaging discussions we’ve held, thanks to an excellent panel and passionate contributions from the floor – and the debate widened to include the importance of diversity in the workplace.

But one guest made an interesting observation. A regular attendee, she noted that for the first time in the four years that we have been holding such sessions, women were in the majority in the audience.

“Does this mean women care more about equality?” she asked.

I hope it was coincidence, but if it did reflect the views of some in our industry, then it was pretty damning.

Another notable aspect was the relatively small proportion of guests who run consumer-facing travel companies – again, a change from our regular breakfasts.

There were plenty of representatives from associations and service providers, but not as many MDs and HR directors of operators and retailers as you might have hoped or expected.

If, as was suggested, it is the industry’s responsibility to educate travellers about the obstacles and risks they may face when travelling, then it would have been good to see more big travel brands represented in the audience.

Not just because it would have ‘ticked a box’ but because embracing and catering for all consumers in an equal way would, without question, improve their bottom lines.

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