5th Annual Travel Unity Summit

“Cultivating Welcoming Communities”

October 5-7, 2019


SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Gateway Center

Syracuse, NY

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Discounts available to NYSTIA members and other participating partners

$30 Weekend ticket available for educators and not-for-profit professionals

Travel Unity is a 501(c)(3) focused on increasing diversity and inclusion in the world of travel and tourism.


  • We connect community groups and individuals with travel, cultural, and educational experiences to promote personal and professional growth.
  • We work with organizations in the travel industry to broaden their diversity and inclusion (D&I) efforts.
  • We collaborate with destinations on solutions to welcome people of various backgrounds and abilities. 

The 5th Annual Travel Unity Summit will convene members of the tourism industry, as well as representatives from academia, community groups, and elected officials and their staff, to discuss issues around diversity and inclusion in the world of travel and tourism.

Saturday, October 5th

Advancing and Honoring Local Communities through Tourism

Roundtables around topics vital to tourism and inclusion for Syracuse, Central New York, and beyond:

  • Community engagement with tourism
  • Responsible revitalization of tourism areas

For more info, email: 

[email protected]

Sunday, October 6th

Diversity and Inclusion in Educational, Cultural, and Natural Spaces

  • How academia and community partners can foster welcoming communities
  • How universities and cultural institutions can actively address the needs of myriad groups

Monday, October 7th


  • Flash Talks from SUNY  ESF, National Park Service, Visit Syracuse, Cornell Botanic Gardens, and more
  • A session with Syracuse Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens
  • Cultivating Welcoming Destinations Panel
  • Roundtables on Communication/Marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility

2019 Partners and Sponsors

Responsible Destination Development: The Revitalization of Onondaga Lake

A discussion on how tourism sites can be (re)built while honoring and respecting local concerns. This session will look at these issues through balancing development on Onondaga Lake to the needs and concerns of Native groups.

A networking reception will take place Saturday evening. Details TBA.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Diversity and Inclusion in Educational, Cultural, and Natural Spaces


10:00am – 11:30am
Cultivating Welcoming Higher Ed
12:00pm – 1:30pm
Experiential Education: Internships, Study Abroad, and Applied Learning
1:30pm – 2:30pm
Lunch Break
2:30pm – 4:00pm Inclusion in Arts, Culture, and Nature
4:00pm – 5:30pm Meeting the Needs of Non-Traditional Students

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Cultivating Welcoming Higher Ed

Schools have struggled with racial incidents, conflicts between the universities and the communities that they are a part of, and truly embracing inclusion of students from all walks of life.

This open dialogue will confront these issues.

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

Experiential Education: Internships, Study Abroad, and Applied Learning

Learning doesn’t only happen in classrooms. To be more prepared for the real world, students of all ages need to have exposure to the workforce and the larger world.

This session will tackle how all students, but especially those of under-served backgrounds, can be better exposed to opportunities beyond the four walls of academia.

2:30pm – 4:00pm

Inclusion in Arts, Culture, and Nature

Arts, culture, and the natural world should not be beyond anyone’s reach due to their background and abilities.

This collaborative session will explore how to bring more groups into the world of art and culture.

4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

Meeting the Needs of Non-Traditional Students

From veterans to returning citizens to any students outside of the stereotypical undergrad, this session will address the unique needs of non-traditional student populations.

Monday, October 7, 2019


Why to attend Monday’s sessions:

1) You want to hear leaders from the travel industry discuss how to best leverage diversity and inclusion for social good and economic benefit.

2) You would like to take part in discussions around reaching new audiences and leveraging corporate social responsibility programs.

MC and Moderator

Pam Brunet

Executive Director of Leadership Greater Syracuse

9:00am – 10:00am Registration and Light Breakfast
10:00am – 11:00am
Opening Flash Talks
11:00am – 11:45am
Morning Session
11:45am – 12:15pm Networking Break
12:15pm – 1:30pm
Cultivating Welcoming Destinations Panel
1:30pm – 3:00pm LUNCH (w/ Curated Networking)
3:00pm – 4:30pm
Communications/Marketing Roundtable
4:30pm – 4:45pm Break
4:45pm – 6:00pm
Corporate Social Responsibility Roundtable

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Opening Flash Talks


Danny Liedka (Visit Syracuse)

Dr. Amy Roache-Fedchenko (National Park Service)

Dr. Christopher Dunn (Cornell Botanic Gardens)

11:00 AM – 11:45 AM

Morning Session


Deputy Mayor Sharon Owens (City of Syracuse)

12:15 PM – 1:45 PM

Cultivating Welcoming Destinations


Visit Syracuse

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

President Kristin Esterberg (SUNY Potsdam)

4:45 PM – 6:00 PM

Corporate Social Responsibility Roundtable


Pam Brunet (Leadership Greater Syracuse)