DENVER — The Colorado Tourism Office is partnering with local tech start-up Inclusive Journeys to make the state more inclusive for residents and tourists.
The tourism office will help support the tech start-ups Inclusive Guide.
In 2020, Inclusive Journeys Founders Parker McMullen Bushman and Crystal Egli began crowdfunding to create the guide.
“The guide is an online review platform that allows visitors to rate businesses, organizations, and spaces on how welcoming and safe they feel,” McMullen Bushman said.
McMullen Bushman said soon, thanks to the new partnership with the state, the digital platform will reach even more people.
“We’re so excited about this partnership because we feel like it is one step in bringing the Inclusive Guide to a wider audience,” McMullen Bushman said.
Nicknamed the “Yelp for inclusivity," the two founders based their idea off an important tool for Black travelers from 1936 to 1966.
“We’re originally modeling our base plan around the Green Book which was for Black motorists, Black travelers during the Jim Crow-era,” Egli said.
But Egli said they decided to expand the Green Book’s business model to include even more people who face discrimination.
“When we began to plan it out and think about where we were headed in the future, there are so many different identities that intersect. There’s just nowhere to say, ‘Here are the lines,’” Egli said.
“It’s also for allies. I think our bigger goal for the Inclusive Guide is to really give economic incentive to businesses and organizations for being more inclusive,” McMullen Bushman said.
Recently, the Colorado Tourism Office announced through its partnership with Inclusive Journeys on the launch of the Inclusive Guide, the office will give businesses listed on Colorado.com the opportunity to earn badges that signify they are safe and welcoming to travelers.
“Feeling more welcome in any place that you visit in Colorado is absolutely the goal,” said Laura Valdez, the co-chair of the Colorado Tourism Office’s Inclusivity in Travel Advisory Group.
Valdez said the partnership between the state and Inclusive Journey’s has already been extremely valuable.
“There’s been some very real authentic, kind of exciting and painful conversations that have happened over these past few months to fully recognize areas of both opportunity and growth that Colorado needs to step into,” Valdez said.
McMullen Bushman and Egli said it’s an opportunity to demonstrate to the rest of the country how to truly work toward becoming welcoming to everyone.