Congrats to Astrid Emmanuelli Ruiz, Social Media Manager at Discover Puerto Rico. She’s one of nine winners in the second annual Emerging Tourism Stars program in partnership with MMGY Global.
Readers will meet more of the winners in upcoming issues of The Travel Vertical and they’ll be recognized in person during the 23rd Annual eTourism Summit on June 6-8, 2022 in Orlando.
What’s an Emerging Tourism Star? Savvy individuals (of any age!) in destination marketing and attractions that are new to the eTourism Community of digital travel and tourism professionals or have risen to the challenges of a role.
- Winners will be directly connected with a travel and tourism leader as a mentor
- Winners receive a scholarship to attend eTourism Summit
- Winners will participate in a panel conversation at eTourism Summit moderated by MMGY Global
- One winner will fill the eTS Emerging Tourism Star Advisory Board Seat (an annual appointment)
Q: Tell us about your professional journey beginning with your master’s degree and how social media has been a part of your life for the past decade.
Social media sneaked into my life without me even noticing and took me by storm, and ever since that moment I can truly say I found my passion – or maybe it found me. When I was in Spain in 2012 doing my master’s degree on journalism for TV, social media was starting to become something big. I was so impressed with the impact it was having at the moment on TV, that it became my thesis topic. Later, when I was doing an internship in a Spanish television channel working on the creation of a new TV show, one of the channel’s executives saw how I was always glued to Twitter on my breaks and thought it would be a great idea for me to open an account for the show. When it finally aired, the docuseries turned out to be a huge success, winning many awards with record-breaking TV ratings in Spain and an engaging social media presence on Twitter. Little did I know that this would be the beginning of a 10-year career to this day.
When I returned to Puerto Rico, I had the opportunity to become the social media manager at one of the most famous and historic resorts of our Island, La Concha Resort. There, I was able to finesse and further develop my skills getting certified in social media management and winning medals from Marriott International.
After almost five years at La Concha Resort, I started my journey with Puerto Rico’s destination marketing organization, Discover Puerto Rico, as their social media coordinator. Before my two years, I was promoted to social media manager, and I can truly say that this has been the most rewarding professional experience I’ve ever had, having the honor of promoting my Island and its unique beauty to the world.
Q: Sounds like social media is running in your veins? Just a guess…what’s the first and last thing you do every day?
I am not kidding when I say that the first thing I do when I wake up is checking my social media and it is also the last thing I do before going to bed. I love what I do so much that it is also my hobby! As a devoted street art fan, I love going around the Island and using my personal Instagram account to show beautiful murals and artsy spots people can enjoy in Puerto Rico. As you can see, social media is my 24/7.
Q: What’s your favorite social media platform and why? Do you think sometimes an image can tell a story in ways that words cannot, especially about Puerto Rico’s diverse, natural beauty?
My favorite social media platform is Instagram. Because of its visual power and the emphasis it gives to images, this is the ideal platform to show the world why a visit to Puerto Rico will redefine their definition of travel. One single picture can be the tiebreaker in the decision-making moment of a traveler. And with the landscape variety that Puerto Rico offers a visitor with beaches, mountains, rainforests, and even three of the bioluminescent bays in the world, most of the time a picture taken on our Island will leave a person speechless. Pictures taken while on vacation in Puerto Rico don’t need a caption – the Island’s beauty will speak for itself.
Q: How are you able to develop regional tourism via social media and what does that mean to you?
Being from a beautiful small town in the south of Puerto Rico called Peñuelas, shining a light on every corner of our Island has always been a goal of mine since the moment I started working in Discover Puerto Rico. With the help of our organization’s social media coordinator, Miguel Bahri, we’ve been able to create initiatives and activations that have put center stage towns that are not used to be protagonists in the vacation experience of a visitor. Activations like our “Holidays in the Mountains of Puerto Rico: The Live Takeover” in which we shared the traditions and showed our audiences what it feels like to experience the holidays in two towns of the mountainous regions of our Island through Instagram Lives, or “Monday Coffee Break” in which we highlighted four towns known in Puerto Rico for their coffee production and coffee culture through engaging infographics.
Our goal is to show visitors that there is more to see beyond San Juan, our stunning capital. It feels amazing giving other towns and regions a chance to show their beauty, and nothing fills my heart with more joy than seeing messages from small towns thanking Discover Puerto Rico and showing their increase in visitation since our organization presented them to our audiences.
Q: What do you hope to achieve by attending eTourism Summit?
My goal by attending eTourism Summit is to acquire all the possible experience and advise from the admirable professionals I will meet. I am extremely excited for the mentorship program this experience provides and I can’t wait to acquire the knowledge that will be imparted to then pass it along and serve as a bridge to open doors for future Emerging Tourism Stars in Puerto Rico.