All entrepreneurs dream of building a successful path. Although the beginning is always difficult, the goal strengthens all the sacrifice and effort invested. And, in a context like the one we live in, being an entrepreneur is really for the brave.
The pandemic affected the whole world and destroyed businesses, and with it the dreams of many people. Some couldn’t recover, others vetured once again on board the boat known as entrepreneurship. One of them is Alexia Harten, co-founder of Peru Well Served (PWS). A company that, despite having to deal with one of the most affected areas in tourism and travel, continued with its mission to position Peru as one of the best places in the world to experience gastronomic tourism.
Photograph from www.peruwellserved.com
Tell us a little about yourself and the journey that led you to found Peru Well Served.
I always loved traveling, and I always put a lot of detail when organizing my trips. I enjoy looking for what can be done in each place, building the route on Google Maps and looking for little special lodgings. I also love food and I love trying new dishes in new places and learning about what's out there behind those projects. I’m very curious and I really like to learn and meet interesting people along the way.
I studied Business Engineering and I think that has given me a very foundation and structure. important to be able to build PWS.
When I returned from my exchange I was looking for a job in which I already want to stay for the medium / long term, and the truth is that nothing convinced me. A friend looked for me to help him with a very nice volunteer and tourism project and that's how I started to discover the world of tourism, and it fascinated me.
With him, we realized that, despite being recognized as Best Culinary Destination of the World by the World Travel Awards for -at that time- 6 consecutive years, there was no travel agency specialized in gastronomic tourism. And that's how Peru Well Served was born.
What is the purpose of PWS?
The purpose of PWS is for travelers to get to know Peru in an authentic and real way, from the hands of locals, and that they share experiences of a lot of connection so that they return home somehow transformed.
In addition, gastronomic tourism has a very important social and economic impact on the destination and that is something that motivates us a lot. For me personally, it fills me to know that with my work I am allowing small farmers, producers, cooks and gastronomic entrepreneurs to have the opportunity to share their work, culture and traditions with people from all over the world.
Photograph from www.peruwellserved.com
How do they work to achieve it?
We design each trip in a personalized way, so that it really fits the interests and travel style of passengers. All travelers who visit us are accompanied by a local host that allows them to live a much more real experience, since it acts as their local friend who, in a close way, takes them to the best spots in their town.
On the side of experiences, we have traveled through Peru living each of the experiences (or designing them from scratch) and meeting the people who carry them out. I think this has been key for the service we offer to be truly unique and very focused on detail.
What is the biggest challenge in the process? And how does your team meet these challenges?
Right now, the limited human resources we have. Unfortunately due to the pandemic (and the consequent abrupt cut in income) we had to reduce the team headcount, so at the moment we all support in everything we can. This is affecting the whole industry and it is something from which we will gradually emerge, since reactivation lights are already visible.
PWS has allowed you to travel around our country, what has been the greatest learning when visiting so many different places?
That we have the most diverse and beautiful country in the world. Each region is SO different from the other, with a different culture, flora, fauna, food and people. We really are a unique country. And on a more personal (and even spiritual) level, facing all this greatness made me feel very lucky, grateful and deeply loved. I trust that there is someone behind so much beauty that it offers us so that we can enjoy it, love it and take care of it.
Machu Picchu - Cuzco, Peru
What are the next steps / plans for PWS?
The objective is to become the main reference for gastronomic trips in Peru. For this, we are making many commercial and marketing efforts so that each time more people know us. In addition, with the help of PromPerú we are holding virtual tours for foreign travel agents to train on gastronomic tourism in our country and present our concept and service proposal. We are sure that all this time and effort invested, which was slowed by the pandemic, will start to show great results very soon.
Just like Alexia, who gives everything so that Peru Well Served takes more and more strength in an area that has already awakened, many small and large companies continue to devise new strategies to attract the eyes of old and new customers.
Our role as tourists is important because by visiting and having new experiences in new places, we help to promote the tourism and gastronomic sector, giving strength to all those who work in this area to continue enjoying what they do while building their dreams.
Would you like to know more about PWS?
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