Pablo Segarra grew up somewhere in the middle.
As a child in the Bronx, he frequently listened to his grandparents poetically describe his ancestral homeland of Porto Rico. They were chatting about the food, the climate, the people and everything that made it such a spectacular place. Although beautifully told, hearing these stories made Segarra feel like an outsider in the United States and Puerto Rico as well. Until he grows up and realizes he could be the bridge between the two through his business, The Latinx Travel Club, and help others find their roots.
“We noticed that there are a lot of people in the Latinx diaspora growing in states that are ‘not American enough’, “Segarra explained of why he and his co-founder, Michael Watson, started their business in 2019.” But, at the same time, when we have actually traveled to the country we come from, we are tourists. We saw it and we wanted to create a bridge, foster those links and deepen them. “
So the two got together and created a nonprofit organization with the goal of helping plan trips around the world for those looking to connect with their family roots. And it was absolutely an idea with merit. According to National Touring Association, Hispanics account for more than $ 56 billion in leisure travel each year. Hispanics also take, on average, two more trips than non-Hispanics each year and spend an average of $ 300 per trip for non-Hispanics.
Video: Tech Startup CEO Implements Four-Day Workweek to Create “Mindful Culture” (NBC News)
Click to enlarge
However, the universe had other plans for Segarra and Watson. COVID-19 struck just as they were taking off from the ground, and it looked like their dreams were going to be shattered, but there was no way to stop this train. In fact, the time spent only allowed Segarra and Watson to upgrade their idea into what is now a massive digital platform that includes its own website and main subscriptions on social networks that celebrate the Latin American experience in all its glory.
“Michael and I said, you know what, there’s something here. Let’s do what millennials do best. Let’s just go social,” Segarra said of their pivot to create a page that it says them, would represent “the faces of the travel industry that are not often shown.”
To date, the duo have amassed over 150,000 dedicated fans. And in doing so, they noticed that their followers weren’t just passive social users, but rather a bunch of forward-thinking entrepreneurs, creators, and a truly diverse cross section of what it means to be Latinx. And now they’re gathering a lot of these followers for the grand opening Latinx Travel Summit, a three-day event to celebrate Latinx Heritage Month and provide Latinx entrepreneurs in travel, media, tech and startups investing their own platform to share their ideas.
“Our inaugural Latinx Travel Summit brings together one of the youngest, most diverse and fastest growing populations in the world to celebrate the ingenuity and innovation of Latinx entrepreneurs,” Segarra said in a statement by e -mail. “We build community by facilitating business collaborations, exploring diversity, enhancing connections and celebrating our culture through the arts. “
Over the three-day weekend, events include panel discussions, meet-ups, local branding opportunities and talks from UN officials, tour leaders and more. Or, as Segarra says, “like the SXSW for the Latinx community”.
To ensure this event reaches its highest potential, Segarra and Watson are also donating a portion of the proceeds to fund local charities and the 501 (c) (3) Nexus Latinx nonprofit, which offers scholarships for Latinx students to travel. cultural immersion trips.
“The travel industry is coming out of this severe pandemic and is trying to find ways to really grow,” Segarra said. “We can make this grow together. We can blow this up together.”
Learn more about the lineup and get tickets for the summit, here.