Keep Asian American and Pacific Islander travelers supported

Keep Asian American and Pacific Islander travelers supported

Every May, a spotlight is shown on the 22.9 million (Pew Research) Americans of Asian or Pacific Islander descent. Not only is it a time to celebrate and learn about Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) heritage, it is an opportunity to bring light to unique challenges the folks of the AAPI community face – and how those of other communities can recognize, respect, and give support. 

This AAPI Heritage Month, we urge companies to take the time out to consider how their travel program can support their AAPI corporate travelers. We’ve gathered some points to review in your duty of care and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) travel framework. 

Looking up

Adjust for the social climate

The COVID-19 pandemic changed how travelers view their physical and mental health – and how workplaces are providing support for concerns related to that. It has also elevated anti-Asian sentiments, resulting in nearly 11,000 hate incidents since tracking began in March 2020 (Stop Asian Hate). This is far from the first time in American history that the AAPI community has been discriminated against, but companies can learn from the past to better support their workers as travel ramps up at unprecedented speed.

Extra considerations should be taken for people of AAPI descent. And don’t forget about intersectionality. While this is not an extensive list, people at higher risk could include: 

  • Travelers within specific racial groups 
  • Travelers within specific ethnic groups 
  • Female travelers 
  • Travelers who are pregnant 
  • Travelers with varying mobility needs 
  • Travelers with sight or hearing impairment 
  • Travelers with chronic illness 
  • Travelers with an invisible disability 
  • Travelers who are in the LGBT+ community 
  • Travelers who are transgender and/or non-binary 
  • Travelers who observe salat or other faith practices 
  • Multilingual travelers or travelers whose first language is not English 

Build new foundations with inclusive thinking

Now that you’re considering your AAPI travelers and their intersectionality, it’s time to start evaluating changes that could be made to better support them. Here’s where to start: 

  • Consult your HR team, IT team, and DEI manager. 
  • Run an anonymous survey of your team – led by your DEI manager. Get intel and common concerns from the actual folks affected and give them an opportunity to – again, anonymously – address any elephants in the room. Let them take the lead on any information gaps and necessary improvements. Investigate what’s working and what’s not. Most importantly – listen. 
  • Once you have a clear understanding, start redesigning your travel program and policy to fit your AAPI travelers’ needs. 
  • When working with us, your FCM team can help you capture information for your program, traveler preferences, traveler requirements, business requirements, budgeting information, and how much flexibility you’ll provide. A transparent, inclusive travel policy means that your team has clarity, flexibility, and information when and how they need it. 
  • FCM provides valuable insight into which destinations carry travel risk as well as on-the-ground tracking for travelers who opt in and real-time communication. 

Check in and be flexible

Diversifying your travel program is not a one-time thing. As seen in recent years, different times can present different challenges. Check in with your business travelers regularly and offer a safe space for feedback. Be sure you also keep changing laws, customs, or political situations in mind and assess whether this requires a policy change or a training session for employees. 

Checking in with your internal risk management team and your FCM team can also help provide feedback on the destinations your people are visiting as well. 

Although things are ever-changing, it’s worth helping your travelers feel secure and comfortable. Working with FCM can help you design a program to fit both your and their needs. 

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