Upgrade your browser - Unfortunately, this site has updated features that cannot run on this version of Internet Explorer. Download a free upgrade of Internet Explorer.
Resilient Workforce - Carmina Hero Mobile

She Still Loves Travel, But Pandemic Rerouted Career Plans

By Jack Chang | 2 min

Carmina Ramos wants to tell you about all the restaurants and pop-up stores and other cool spots that await visitors in San Francisco. A native of the city, Ramos has built a career out of her enthusiasm for travel and adventure, and even the blow of COVID-19 hasn’t dimmed her optimism for tourism in the years to come.

Right before COVID-19, Ramos had been promoted as the sponsor and member services manager for the San Francisco Travel Association, where she had worked for nearly six years. She and her husband had planned two trips to Hawaii in 2020, one with their two sons and one trip without.

“I felt like I could take on the world,” she said.

The family had to cancel those plans once the pandemic hit. Ramos and her husband, who worked the front desk at the Virgin Hotel in the city, were both furloughed, and then laid off. They got by with unemployment aid and the help of nearby family, Ramos said.

“As an event planner and someone who has been taught operations from the front of the manual to the back of the manual, I like to control things,” Ramos said. “That’s the kind of person I am. I like to plan but not knowing what the next month may look like or the next year, it’s always going of feel a little iffy. But on the bright side of it, the pandemic has taught me how to go on day-by-day.”

Ramos has found her way back in the hospitality industry and now works as the San Francisco community manager for the business review service Yelp where she helps promote local businesses to residents. She said she’s excited to see people to hit the road again in California – as long as everyone stays vigilant about wearing masks and keeping up other health protections.

“I do think people are going to have this extreme itch to go to places that they’ve been before because they miss it so much and places where they have never been,” Ramos said. “So much of this pandemic has felt like the end of the world, once we get the clearance to travel, we’ll do it.”

With her husband still out of work, however, Ramos said her family is trying to be smart and protect themselves from the next economic shock by diversifying their household income. The pandemic has left Ramos a little wiser even if her optimism for the future hasn’t flagged.

“I love tourism. I love telling people about how amazing San Francisco is, and that’s why I love this current role I have with Yelp,” Ramos said. “But I am feeling a little uneasy about having both my husband and I in the same industry.”