New Guide Helps Planners Navigate Hosting Events in Destinations With Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation
Global Diversity Alliance (GDA), a new global LGBTQ+ community association committed to fostering a world that celebrates and embraces diversity in all its forms, released its whitepaper, “Banning the Boycott – How to Do Business in Times of Discrimination (BTB).”
The new resource, a comprehensive guide for meeting planners, hospitality and destination professionals to build more inclusive and diverse events for all stakeholders, offers pathways to navigate through the challenges of planning events in destinations with discriminatory legislation. The resource-rich, data-driven document also details how to leverage the power of diversity to drive innovation, equity and social progress.
The intention of the whitepaper is to equip various stakeholders with practical guidelines, communication tactics and implementation strategies that can empower businesses to drive positive change in the communities where they host their events, according to GDA officials.
“The Global Diversity Alliance believes the meeting planning community has an opportunity to have a long-term impact,” said Péter Kakucska, president of GDA, who founded the organization alongside Executive Director David Jefferys. “Our first offering provides meeting planners, hospitality and destination professionals the blueprint for beginning to make lasting change in meeting destinations. Simply put, convene with intent.”
Why it matters
A number of countries, regions, states and cities have enacted restrictive legislation targeting the LGBTQ+ community, and as a result, countless organizations have decided to boycott these destinations, according to GDA officials. While boycotts can often have good intentions behind them, they tend to impact the wrong people, such as innocent bystanders, residents and businesses that rely on the meetings and events industries for their livelihoods.
How it works
Designed to be a starting point for making a positive impact in the LGBTQ+ community and being a catalyst for change, the BTB divides those in the meetings, incentives, conventions and events (MICE) ecosystem into three categories: Meeting Planners/ Event Organizers; Destinations; and Businesses (Goods and Service Providers, Vendors, Suppliers).
Providing a set of guidelines targeted and tailored for each stakeholder with their needs and requirements in mind, the paper offers step-by-step guidelines. For meeting planners, topics range from information gathering to help select an event destination and legal considerations to partnering with diverse and inclusive businesses and how to produce a successful, safe and inclusive event.
For destinations, the BTB offers guidelines for raising the diverse and inclusive visibility of the destination, how to implement DEI management principles, and policy recommendations for cities of various sizes, resources and ranges of functions. Meanwhile, businesses can find information on how to be more diverse and inclusive in their operations, how to communicate those efforts effectively and genuinely and how to become a role model for diverse and inclusive businesses.
Created in 2023 to work with meeting planners, hospitality and destination professionals to foster diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) on a global scale, the GDA is the brainchild of veteran event professionals with extensive experience in the areas of sustainability, CSR, DEI and LGBTQ+ tourism marketing.
Based in Berlin, Germany, Kakucska has worked in event management for more than 20 years at the United Nations. He is a veteran diplomat in sustainability, where he provided crucial support in strategic implementation and international negotiations to world leaders during the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change. Also a senior fellow at the Foundation of Global Governance and Sustainability, Kakucska has also been instrumental in benchmarking corporate social responsibility, promoting sustainable development and social justice in the events industry, among others.
Previously the founder of the LGBT Meeting Professionals Association, Jefferys has made contributions and spearheaded initiatives that have propelled LGBT professionals in the meetings sector, fostering an inclusive environment and catalyzing diversity within the industry. He is also president emeritus of Altus Agency, an innovative NGLCC LGBTE-certified business that achieved notable success in championing DEI efforts, particularly in the arena of LGBTQ+ tourism marketing. His groundbreaking creation, the first LGBT advertising campaign for the City of Philadelphia, “Get Your History Straight and Your Nightlife Gay,” made him an influential figure in destination marketing.
“We believe that meetings can build understanding, making us less prejudiced and more empathetic, things we desperately need more of in the world right now,” Jeffreys said. “A personal dialogue is something that can be quite powerful in places where censorship is prevalent.”
“Banning the Boycott – How to do Business in Times of Discrimination” was made possible in part by a grant from the Destinations International Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering destinations globally to excel through innovation and resource incubation. View a copy here.