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Wednesday, Sep 28, 2022
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Tour Hopes to Spur More Diversity in Conventions

Old Town, the USS Midway and a cruise around San Diego Bay are on the Sept. 14 agenda for a unique group of meeting planners from around the country.

The group embarked Sept. 13 on a familiarization tour of San Diego, all in an attempt to attract a more diverse lineup of meetings and conventions to the area.

The event has been arranged by the Multi-Cultural Convention Services Network.

The tour and related events, which run from Sept. 13-16, feature meeting planners from the International Association of Hispanic Meeting Planners and the National Bar Association, both based in Houston. The tour also has attracted planners from the Worldwide Association of Mexicans Abroad of Arcadia; Travel Professionals of Color, Denver; National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club Inc., Marlboro, Md.; RAIZ Events Inc. of Dallas; National Association of Black County Officials, Washington, D.C.; and Blacks in Government of Sacramento.

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Ruben Barrales, president and chief executive officer of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, says that while he couldn’t reference statistics showing the percentage of minorities among the visitor count, it’s safe to say that there’s a lack of diversity among groups and organizations that come here for meetings and conventions.

“If we are bringing folks here on a fam tour that are not regular visitors to San Diego, then by definition we can do a better job of attracting more diverse groups of visitors,” he said.

Activities for the familiarization tour include a guided trolley tour of the city, a cruise around San Diego Bay, a tour of the USS Midway, lunch in Old Town and a VIP reception and dinner at the San Diego Convention Center.

The Multi-Cultural Convention Services Network, headed by Clara Carter, was founded in 2003. Its mission, she said, “is to increase San Diego’s share of the multicultural convention and tourism markets, while ensuring the inclusion of people of color in every aspect of the hospitality industry.”

, Connie Lewis

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