Working in your home country, doing a job that you like and generating social benefit for the people you grew up with. For many people, this is the ultimate professional goal. Germán Sarmiento is Peruvian and, as of this month, he has achieved this goal, specifically as the Director of Marketing at Mountain Lodges of Peru: a tourism company that organizes cultural tours around the country. Germán is also a former student of the Master in Marketing and Commercial Management and he is a firm believer that “well-executed tourism is a great tool for cultural projection”.
YOU HAVE PREVIOUSLY WORKED AT HONDA, INTERBANK… HOW DID YOUR PROFESSIONAL CAREER BRING YOU TO MOUNTAIN LODGES OF PERU?
I was always attracted to tourism. From a very young age, I really liked travelling, particularly to remote places. In short, I loved discovering other cultures, customs and ways of living. I also really liked nature. I started combining trips with hiking and they became more cultural journeys.
After a trip to Patagonia en 2012, I decided to change industry and shift towards what really motivated me. I was sure of the potential that cultural/experiential tourism had in my country. So I thought about taking the Master at EAE, along with other studies in Barcelona, in preparation for this change. At the end of my studies, I received an e-mail from Mountain Lodges of Peru. I met up with them in Lima and got an insight into the projects that they are running. The coincidences between the tourism and business focus were too great!
SO, TELL US ABOUT THE COMPANY’S SOCIAL PURPOSE.
The objective of Mountain Lodges of Peru (MLP) is to develop tourism whilst disseminating and protecting the popular culture of the Andean communities of Peru. Our lodges generate employment but also share a portion of the facilities with the communities in which they are located. We work directly with the communities for their development. We are allies on the project. In addition, MLP set up Yanapana, an NGO that aims to reduce poverty and improve education, health and welfare of the populations of these communities. For all of these initiatives, MLP received the TO-DO award in 2009, which we received at the International Tourism Trade Fair in Berlin.
AS DIRECTOR OF MARKETING, COULD YOU GIVE US A GENERAL EXPLANATION OF THE ASPECTS THAT SET YOU APART FROM ALL OF THE OTHER COMPANIES IN THE SECTOR?
As a product, there is no other company that offers lodge-to-lodge travel routes (4 stars). Not only do our customers have the opportunity to relish amazing landscapes during their hikes, but they also have the chance to gain insight into the authentic culture that surrounds them. We combine culture, sport and history to generate an extremely comprehensive experience. We create a strong emotional bond.
TO WHAT EXTENT DOES YOUR WORK SATISFY YOU AT A PERSONAL LEVEL?
I firmly believe that (well-executed) tourism is a great tool for cultural projection. Knowing that my contribution as a professional at MLP not only generates wealth but also development and welfare in the communities, without damaging their identity, is extremely satisfying but also a great responsibility.
WHY WORK IN PERU AND NOT ABROAD?
Because Peru is the country with the greatest cultural wealth and diversity that I have ever known. I feel strongly committed to its dissemination and conservation. I got extremely interesting job offers in other countries, but in some way or another, it meant putting off my professional and personal project. I already had a very clear idea of what I wanted. Moreover, I believe that my country needs good professionals that contribute towards its development.
WHAT CONTRIBUTION DO YOU THINK THAT EAE HAS MADE TO YOUR DEVELOPMENT IN THE SECTOR?
EAE consolidated my academic training. Not only did I gain the qualification of a Master in Marketing and Commercial Management , but it also gave me the opportunity to live in Barcelona, a city which is world renowned for its cultural movements. Tourism in Barcelona, as is the case in many other cities in Spain, is one of the main economic activities. In addition, EAE is an international school. I shared the experience with people from all over the world and this added value to the tuition.
MANY STUDENTS HIGHLIGHT THE CAMARADERIE AT THE SCHOOL. ARE YOU STILL IN TOUCH WITH YOUR CLASSMATES AT EAE?
I studied with several Peruvians at EAE and we still have a Whatsapp group that we use to communicate. We are close and try to meet up regularly. With the rest of the classmates, we mainly keep in touch on social media. We know who has got married, who still lives in Barcelona, etc. There have even been plans for a number of reunion trips that I hope come to fruition soon.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THE SCHOOL AND WHY?
Yes. I think that EAE is excellent value for money. It has fantastic lecturers who have a close working relationship with the students. The School constantly organizes activities, seminars and conferences, which the students take good advantage of. They are really useful for rounding off your professional training and contacts.