Mexico is a popular tourist destination that includes hot spots like Playa De Carmen and Cancun as well as large, all-inclusive resorts. It has also become a destination that has become home to Black American ex-pats looking for new opportunities. For two Black male entrepreneurs, they found their inspiration in Tulum, where they established their own yachting company.
William Lee is the founder of The Yacht Club company based in the popular Mexcian beach getaway where visitors can charter their own yacht for the afternoon for a luxurious day out on the water. Lee started the venture after visiting the trendy beach escape during a trip while quarantining.
“Tulum was always on my bucket list. From the history and culture to the beautiful beaches, it’s easily one of my favorite travel destinations,” said Lee in an interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE via email. “Like most people, I needed to decompress and get out of the house during the quarantine. Tulum seemed like the perfect place so I booked a flight and a few days later I was living in Tulum. Currently, I go back and forth between Tulum and my hometown, Philly.”
He later established the company in August 2020 where he met with business partners, co-founder Jon Robert, and Head of Partnership, Ryan Fletcher, to jumpstart the business. “Jon is incredibly talented at developing tour concepts and event planning, among other things,” he says. “Ryan is chief of Partnerships and has been able to acquire many celebrities partnerships and partnerships with hotels and restaurants in Tulum.
Lee says what also attracted him to the destination was the community of Black travelers that have relocated there and growing opportunities. “There’s a very strong community of Black travelers in Tulum. We’ve all done a really good job of connecting with one another as well,” he said. “As a Black traveler, it’s always comforting to see many other Black ex-pats while outside of the US. Tulum almost feels like a second home to me at this point.”
To ensure the safety of customers, the company works with hotels like the newly-opened five-star Hotel Bardo that provides on-site COVID-19 testing so travelers can fulfill CDC requirements for international trips and present a negative COVID-19 test. They have also been able to work with other Black-owned and local businesses to connect visitors and help them to get the most of their trip to Tulum.
“It’s amazing to see Black-owned businesses and communities growing at such a fast pace. Black Tulum and TribeTulum are a few of the communities/entities that have done an amazing job keeping us all together by hosting events and dinners. The best part is we’re all one big family!”