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Impacts of The Bridge: Maricruz Pereira, co-founder of Unique Adventures

In our Impacts of The Bridge blog series, we look at how our Bridge program has impacted different people from around tourism academia and industry. In today’s blog, we catch up with Maricruz Pereira, co-founder of the business Unique Adventures, to hear about her experience of having her business’ story told as a case.

Before we start, what is The Bridge? By using our resources as a global non-profit, we’ve created a live bank of industry contacts with fantastic stories ready to share. Then, we’re connecting these individuals with organizations around the world who want to publish more research and broaden their network. We call this collaboration: The Bridge.

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I am Costa Rican born and raised.  I studied Tourism and have been working in this business for over 30 years! 16 years ago I joined forces with Soledad Naranjo (my business partner and dear friend) and we founded Unique Adventures, knowing that we wanted, above all else, to have an operation based in the principles of sustainability, conservation of the environment, and respect for our culture and the communities visited.  Years later, seeing that Unique was growing and that I needed to improve my tool set, I got an MBA and the Tech Institute of Costa Rica (ITCR).  I am passionate about nature and the outdoors!  I always need to escape to nature some way or another to get centered and in touch with myself.  I have been married for 25 years to my husband, and we have 3 children ages 22, 20, and 18, who are my pride and joy.  I am also a runner, so far I have completed 3 full marathons and I’m training for my 4th one, coming up in April.

How was your experience talking to the students who wrote your story?

I love to talk with young people, and see how passionate they are about the things that interest them.  In this case, it was great to speak to both Alizée and Katie, they are bright young women, with loads of energy and enthusiasm.  They asked intelligent questions and were very engaged.  It is wonderful to see that there are bright young women coming into the Tourism world to whom we will be passing the torch!

It is wonderful to see that there are bright young women coming into the Tourism world to whom we will be passing the torch!

The published case study of Unique Adventures is now available for students and those researching in tourism around the World to learn from your story. What do you hope readers learn most from your story?

First of all, that you don’t need to have a huge company, or an international operation to do make a difference. Every single person and every single company, regardless of size, number of clients, or bottom line, is able to contribute in some way or another to make this a better world. It no longer enough to just “preserve”. We are past that point. We now need to actively work in leaving the place better than we found it, and I can be done without huge resources. Of course, having a lot of money and a lot of power must be great, but I am a firm believer in “the power of one”. And second, my best advice is to not be afraid of failure. Do what you love, and success will follow. Yes, there will be mistakes, many. But, as trite as it may sound, we all learn and grow from them. Take the plunge!

Read the case study here.

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