Rye celebrates diversity at World Tourism Day

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By Lauren Strapagiel

Laraine Kaminsky doesn’t think of diversity in the workplace as a fad, but an important shift in thinking that can be helpful for business students.

“You could grow your resume by saying, ‘I’ve lived here, I’ve worked here,'” said Kaminsky, a global diversity strategist and speaker, in her keynote talk at this year’s World Tourism Day on Sept. 24. “We don’t promote ourselves in terms of our own cultural diversity.”

Kaminsky was the final speaker at the day-long conference held by the Ted Rogers School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. World Tourism Day was founded by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and this is the seventh year Ryerson has celebrated it. The UNWTO chose this year’s theme to be Celebrating Diversity.

Ryerson focused on how to leverage cultural diversity and profit from an inclusive workplace, something that event organizer and fourth-year hospitality and tourism student Xiana Li says is an important topic for Toronto businesses.

“It just makes sense for the industry to know how to manage that,” said Li. Also on the organizational team were Alla Zhura and Rachel Beaten, both fourth-year hospitality and tourism students. Beaten said that this year’s theme was perfect for a Toronto audience, adding that by 2011 most, if not all, of Toronto’s labour growth will come from immigration.

“If we’re going to manage a company we need to know how to deal with this,” said Beaten.

Members of Toronto’s tourism industry and students were invited to attend.

“I think it’s important that we realize diversity isn’t just a buzzword anymore,” said second-year hospitality and tourism student Saham Yazdani.

“It’s a topic that can apply to all the different parts of the field.”

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