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San Diego Tourism Authority launches program to showcase San Diego’s diversity of businesses

The Tourism Authority says the new program will provide resources for businesses owned by people of color, LGBTQ+, women and veterans.

SAN DIEGO — One of the many ways San Diego is special is because of the many different people that call it home. The different cultures, backgrounds and experiences just add to what makes it great.

Recently, the San Diego Tourism Authority launched a new program that is aimed to showcase the diversity of San Diego and it offers tools to help local businesses.

President and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority, Julie Coker says they are very excited about the new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Tourism Accelerator program. “We definitely believe that in order for our tourism economy here in San Diego to rebuild and come back to its fullest, we want to make sure that it is through an inclusive and diverse process. So we've started the accelerator program to really give underrepresented businesses an opportunity to pathways to leadership,” said Coker.

The Tourism Authority says the new program will provide resources for businesses owned by people of color, LGBTQ+, women and veterans. They added that the new program will offer services designed to help these unique and growing businesses be more successful and better build connections in the local tourism industry.

Those chosen to be a part of the program will receive:

  • Financial coaching from Bank of America, legal training from Procopio as well as two free quarter-page ads in both the San Diego Business Journal and San Diego Magazine
  • Complimentary Membership in San Diego Tourism Authority (SDTA) and free admission to select SDTA events as well as special access to SDTA senior staff, board members and program investors
  • $500 voucher for a course through UC San Diego Extension
  • A $1,000 credit to use on SDTA’s digital advertising platforms
  • Coaching from a dedicated mentor who is a successful operator or owner of a tourism or hospitality business

Businesses who are interested in applying for the program must meet these specific requirements:

  • Applicants must be people of color, LGBTQ+, women- or veteran-owned tourism and hospitality businesses based in the San Diego region
  • Organizations must have operated for at least one year to qualify
  • Business categories may be, but not limited to, restaurants, retail, activities and attractions, museums, transportation, and meeting and event services
  • Excluded businesses: Any type of accommodation, airline or cruise line
  • Current or former members of the San Diego Tourism Authority are not eligible
  • Current advertisers with San Diego Magazine or the San Diego Business Journal will not receive the advertising benefit.

Coker says the Tourism Authority will start by choosing a cohort of 10 businesses. When asked if the program will expand the number of businesses she said, “We will continue to fundraise so that we are able to keep this as a sustainable program. We know the number of small businesses here in San Diego and we just want to make sure that all of the neighborhoods and the diverse businesses that we enjoy here in San Diego are able to be a part of the travel and tourism industry.”

When it comes to picking the businesses who will be a part of the program, the Tourism Authority said, “a diverse panel comprised of program sponsors and San Diego Tourism Authority board and staff will review the applications and select the 10 participants.”

Interested in applying? Click here and make sure your application is in by November 5, 2021.

WATCH: President and CEO of the Tourism Authority, Julie Coker talked about the tourism accelerator program and who it is aimed at helping