Better Your Business | Tourism Diversity Program
Better Your Business
Tourism Diversity Program
Do you want to make your tourism business more inclusive and accessible but aren’t sure where to start? The City of Vaughan’s new Better Your Business program is here to help.
Through this initiative, Tourism Vaughan provides up to 24 tourism-related businesses with an opportunity to plan and develop more inclusive and diverse tourism products, services and experiences.
Eligible program applicants must be based in Vaughan and part of Vaughan’s tourism industry, including:
- Incorporated businesses, primarily small and medium enterprises
- Not-for-profit incorporated organizations
- Co-operatives (for-profit and not-for-profit)
- Post-secondary institutions
- Indigenous, First Nations and Métis-owned businesses or not-for-profits
All eligible applicants must either be based in the city of Vaughan, or host tourism activations in the city of Vaughan to apply.
Businesses Not Eligible:
- Retail sector; and
Spots are limited, so apply today! Consultations will continue to be scheduled on an immediate and ongoing basis until all spots are filled.
Applications are now closed.
Learn from a Panel of Leaders in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
On February 23, 2023, Tourism Vaughan hosted its first-ever Better Your Business: Tourism Diversity learning sessions. This was an opportunity for businesses to get together and learn how to make their space more inclusive and welcoming for guests and staff. These sessions were recorded and are available for viewing below.
A Panel Discussion on the Importance of Inclusion
With Krystal Abotossaway (Indigenous DEI Specialist), Tolu Aladejebi (Black in Hospitality), Joe Baker (Joe Baker Consulting), Jordyn Samuels (Journeys InEquity), Kyra Cole and Terrilyn Kunopaski (KLB Consulting)
The Case for Accessible Tourism – Scope, Skills and Strategy
Led by Joe Baker (Joe Baker Consulting)
This interactive workshop will set the stage for business owners and operators to develop an awareness of the business opportunity presented by adapting current hospitality and tourism services and experiences to include people with disabilities. Built on the framework of effective changemaking, this session will highlight and develop the social and emotional skills required to embrace this market segment and will be a spark for the strategic mindset and complementary tools required for sustained success.
Cultivating Safe Spaces for the 2SLGBTQIA+ Visitor
Led by Jordyn Samuels (Journeys InEquity)
Creating safe spaces for 2sLGBTQIA+ visitors goes beyond putting a rainbow sticker on your front window- it involves ensuring that you are recognizing the diversity and intersectionality of the 2sLGBTQIA+ traveller and also understanding and responding to their travel motivations. The business decision for creating this space is clear, but what needs to happen so that you have meaningful, inclusive, and equitable practices in place?
This workshop will help participants understand, support, and serve 2sLGBTQIA+ visitors and employees through an intersectional lens.
An Unbiased Approach to Exceptional Customer Service
Led by Tolu Aladejebi (Black in Hospitality)
This workshop provides participants with an engaging and interactive opportunity to investigate and unpack their own personal and organizational biases. Using a series of real-life hospitality scenarios, this workshop allows participants to think deeply and analyze ways that biases can lead to the exclusion of others, create unfair decisions, and affect how customer service is delivered. This session also gives participants the opportunity to brainstorm equitable solutions that foster positive outcomes/experiences for everyone.
About the program consultants
Led by KLB Consulting, this program offers one-on-one consultations with established industry leaders to promote tourism to the 2SLGBTQ+ community; Black, Indigenous and racialized communities; individuals with accessibility requirements; and French-speaking visitors. Selected businesses will have the opportunity to develop a strategic diversity, equity and inclusion plan to guide their tourism operations by working with the following established industry leaders:
A 2sLGBTQIA+ Ontario economic development and tourism leader, Kyra Cole has been named as one of Ontario’s “Top 10 Economic Development Professionals” by the Economic Developers Council of Ontario and one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 by Business Elite. Kyra specializes in community economic development, strategic planning and regenerative tourism development.
As the founder of the consulting firm Black In Hospitality, Tolu Aladejebi builds inclusive work cultures for tourism and hospitality businesses. Tolu uses scenario-based content, providing tangible practices and resources that business owners and entrepreneurs can apply in their day-to-day guest services.
A leader within Canada’s tourism, hospitality and education sectors, Joe Baker is also a vocal advocate for inclusivity. Joe specializes in thought leadership, human capital and operational excellence. He identifies as a person with a disability, and his lived experiences have guided his passion for a more inclusive and equitable sector.
Driven by his vision for a more inclusive and values-driven tourism industry, Leni Brem has held leadership positions with RTO6’s newly formed Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and Indigenous Tourism Ontario. Leni is also part of the team driving impact and change at the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario.