Meet up with Two Women Business owners Strengthening Puerto Rican Tourism

This Global Women’s Working day is all about celebrating girls and their resilience. The tourism field across the world has been hit hard from the COVID-19 pandemic, and scores of gals in the marketplace have been challenged with unparalleled challenges.

In spite of layoffs, closings, constraints and uncertainty, there is nonetheless hope. Which is why we’ll get a seem at Paulina Salach and Melina Aguilar Colon, two women business enterprise entrepreneurs from Puerto Rico who have had to adapt their corporations to challenging times, each prior to and all over the pandemic, and who perform tricky to bolster their communities.

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Paulina Salach is co-founder of Spoon, a Puerto Rican foodstuff tour business. After shifting to Puerto Rico more than a ten years in the past, Paulina fell in adore with the meals and the local community of foodies who had been sustaining the island’s culinary heritage.

“My spouse and I bootstrapped the company, employing our cost savings and without any support from the federal government or start-up incubators… We followed our passion, uncovered a complete whole lot together the way, and nearly 10 several years later on we continue on to positively impact tourism in Puerto Rico by way of Spoon. In mid-March, we were being one of the to start with companies to offer digital cooking and cocktail courses in collaboration with neighborhood cooks, bartenders and brand names. We’re also constructing a sister enterprise that will carry solitary-origin, sustainably sourced coffee to mindful shoppers in the course of the entire world,” claimed Paulina Salach.

Spoon provides vacationers a genuine flavor of Puerto Rico: from cooking lessons wherever attendees master how to make regular Puerto Rican meals to private dinners and island food stuff excursions. Spoon experiences are sustainable and support the local economic system. “We work with dozens of local eating places, bars, cafés, farms, chefs, bartenders, stores, baristas, farmers, artists, and smaller organization entrepreneurs all over the Island. Our company straight impacts the economic climate, supports sustainable tourism, and generates work, both instantly and indirectly,” said Paulina Salach.

Melina Aguilar Colon is founder of Isla Caribe, a genuinely one of a kind tour corporation positioned in Ponce. A previous Fulbright Scholar, Melina lived abroad in Asia for a decade, doing work in worldwide progress: “In 2017, when I returned, Puerto Rico experienced been in an economic disaster for over 10 decades, and that calendar year Hurricane Maria hit. Mass migration and lack of options strike the total island, but in particular in places like Ponce as migration to start with goes from the relaxation of the island to the funds, and then to the states. I realized my group needed careers, new concepts of financial progress and injection of positivity I also understood of the tourism potential of my town and area of Puerto Rico. I made the decision to come back property and operate for that, setting up Isla Caribe in December 2017.”

Isla Caribe, which prides itself on being passionate about heritage, strives to give excursions that mirror the outstanding background of Puerto Rico. Diving deep into historical activities and critical themes, the intention of each and every tour is to foster a perception of emotional connection to the island and its men and women by connecting them to destinations that they wouldn’t ordinarily pay a visit to. Its tour guides research background, analysis in community archives and lover with regional communities and companies to give its tour members the ideal expertise and activities available.

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Melina Aguilar Colon, founder of Isla Caribe, with a tour team in Ponce. (picture by using Discover Puerto Rico)

“Our guides are historical past lovers that passionately share the gatherings and men and women that outlined the position they are viewing. Our tours are also focused on historical events that are less acknowledged or areas that are much less visited for instance, we have a tour known as ‘Ruta De Las Mujeres,’ a tour focused to the ladies that formed Puerto Rico’s record and development. We also give virtual tours and excursions with containers, aiding persons link from all around the environment and get a piece of the knowledge in a box. For instance, the ‘Ruta De Las Mujeres,’ consists of a box crammed with merchandise created by local gals-led organizations. This tour is using location this thirty day period for the duration of Ladies in Background Thirty day period,” stated Melina Aguilar Colon.

Isla Caribe has had to adapt to immense worries, from deficiency of transportation to deficiency of h2o and electrical energy, as properly as problems to community sights soon after various earthquakes. This earlier year was the hardest challenge still: “…the 1st week we ended up hit by a 6.6 earthquake, then by the pandemic. Nevertheless, 2020 has been our most creative yr yet. Soon after getting rid of all our bookings for the yr on two instances, we released our first digital excursions and digital tour with bins filled with activities. This has now turn out to be an critical section of our solutions, and an region we program to keep on to increase.”

This International Women’s Day, we rejoice the females working to elevate up our communities by means of tourism at household and overseas.