A personal reflection in response to Destination Analysts’ March 23, 2021 panel discussion with AAPI travelers, by Chingun Ganzorig, Research Manager at Destination Analysts.
Note: Views expressed here belong to Chingun Ganzorig and do not necessarily represent those of other Destination Analysts staff or the company itself.
Over the course of the past year, there has been a dramatic rise in anti-Asian attacks within the U.S. Stop AAPI Hate, the center that tracks and responds to hate incidents against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States, recently released a national report indicating that there were nearly 3,800 such discriminatory acts against Asian Americans between March 2020 and February 2021. For me personally, this figure, coupled with reading and watching news accounts of violence against Asian Americans, has incited both shock and trepidation. Sure, growing up as an Asian American has its struggles—like micro-aggressions and racist comments here and there that I swiftly brushed off, but I hadn’t experienced nor witnessed anything like these massive spikes in anti-Asian harassment and crimes.
In the aftermath of the Black Lives Matter movement, we at Destination Analysts hosted a panel discussion with Black travelers about what the travel industry can do to market and make travel an equally inclusive leisure activity. We also spoke with an incredibly talented group of Black travel content creators to understand how DMOs and travel brands could learn from their experiences and work with them. These revelatory and very meaningful discussions were the inspiration for me to suggest that our small, mighty team of researchers organize a panel discussion with Asian American and Pacific Islander travelers. Our team decided to move forward with this panel at the beginning of this year, and the date we selected back in January just so happened to be March 23rd, exactly one week after the Atlanta shootings. While this could have been purely serendipitous, it would be an understatement to say that this panel discussion with AAPI travelers was relevant and timely. It was imperative. And not only was it imperative to hear these travelers’ perspectives and considerations, but to also convey a loud and clear message: AAPI travelers want respect and acknowledgement.
You can listen to what these six AAPI travelers had to say and find our key takeaways from the discussion below.
What We Learned:
As my own shock and trepidation fluctuate, I’m both relieved and comforted to know that I’m not the only one experiencing these feelings in the wake of anti-Asian attacks. A subtle way to let Asian Americans know that they are welcome is to represent them in marketing materials. A bolder way to let AAPI travelers know that they are welcome is to directly address the surge of violence and take a solid stance. There is much work to do in order to overcome this series of unfortunate events. Being pro-active and addressing current issues and events is one step towards making AAPI travelers feel safe, welcomed, valued, respected and acknowledged.