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Women make their mark on Puerto Rico’s tourism sector

Puerto Rico’s women entrepreneurs are making their mark on the island’s tourism sector, from a number of angles.

On the one hand, there are those working on the Airbnb platform, which in 2018 had more than 5,000 hosts in Puerto Rico. At present 50% of the island’s hosts on Airbnb are women, the platform confirmed.

Worldwide, Airbnb has managed to continue boosting tourism. From March 2020 to this year, new hosts on the Airbnb platform have collectively earned more than $1 billion.

According to Airbnb, it’s estimated that 55% are women, meaning that about 250,000 women have collectively made $600 million since the pandemic began and decided to become hosts on the short-term rental platform.

“The Airbnb community has always been empowered by women and that remains relevant to this day,” executives said in a release.

It is estimated that of the four million hosts that are part of the global Airbnb community, two million are women including those registered in Puerto Rico.

“I love everything about being a hostess, as well as meeting new people from around the world, I enjoy the whole experience of making my guests’ stays memorable and enjoyable,” according to María José Báez, hostess in San Juan since 2016.

Meanwhile, in honor of International Women’s Day on Monday, Discover Puerto Rico hosted its first “Virtual International Women’s Day Meetup” with Puerto Rican female entrepreneurs, who are facilitating the tourism recovery and strengthening the local economy.

The panel was composed by Carmen Portela, co-founder of Local Guest and Bana, Cristina Sumaza, co-founder of Lote 23, and Crystal Díaz, owner of El Pretexto and co-founder of PRoduce. These women shared their inspirational stories as they overcome the hurdles of the pandemic and other crises the island has endured.

During the panel Portela explained that Bana is a community that connects, educates and inspires consumers on sustainable living through content, products, experiences and services. 

Sumaza talked about Lote 23, an outdoor food park in Santurce, Puerto Rico where a new generation of local chefs developed their businesses using local and native ingredients.

Meanwhile, Díaz talked about her personal life project, El Pretexto, the island’s first culinary farm lodge in Cayey. It offers an authentic experience of sophisticated culinary tourism in a countryside environment.

To continue honoring Puerto Rico’s entrepreneurial women and their achievements and local businesses, Discover Puerto Rico launched a landing page on its website to support successful females on the island, Leah Chandler, CMO of Discover Puerto Rico, said.

“Our goal is to share stories about these pioneering women who are pouring their passion for their beloved island into products and programs that will either inspire a trip to Puerto Rico,” she said.


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