There are many women making a difference in tourism at Tropic. With their recent regional expansion, we wanted to focus on some of the newer faces from Tropic Peru.
Tropic Peru Product Manager Maria ‘Maru’ Eugenia de Aliaga has more than 20 years’ experience in the travel industry and is incredibly passionate about her work. Like all of the Tropic team, Maru believes that well planned tourism is an efficient tool for the empowerment of local communities, and that responsible tourism is at the core of Tropic’s business.
Maru has a master’s degree in Tourism Business Management and postgraduate studies in Cultural Tourism. She has consulted for the government of Perú and served as the Director of the Sustainable Tourism faculty in Antonio Ruiz de Montoya University. Her extensive network of friends and colleagues enables her to share insider access to many of Peru’s best kept secrets.
Growing up at Casa Aliaga helped to lay the foundation for Maru’s career. She was in contact with tourists from a very young age as they explored and marveled at her childhood home’s history. Casa Aliaga is the perfect example of how tourism helps to preserve cultural heritage as it not only helps to finance restoration through traveler visits, it also helps to spread the word about the legacy and story of the house.
Maru holds Cusco and Lake Titicaca deep in her heart. Both areas have specific customs, beautiful local traditions and lively living cultures. In the Cusco Mountains, the powerful apus (mountain spirits) of the area create a certain energy, while the beautiful landscapes beg to be explored on foot. Lake Titicaca is a place of calmness for Maru. Its beauty and fascinating ecosystem bring her peace.
Maru and her family currently live in the Sacred Valley. When she is not scouting new experiences or checking in with our local partners on the ground, she enjoys yoga, spending time with her kids, trekking, reading and spending time with friends. Her many passions drive her ability to connect people with the experiences they are seeking and to showcase Perú’s beauty, history and culture for visitors.
Maru’s decades in tourism have lead to long-standing friendships and relationships. One of those is with Flora Corihuaman, Tropic’s partner in the Misminay community in Cusco, Peru. Maru spoke with Flora about her role in tourism.
“Talk about tourism can have many meanings, depending on the eyes who see it: as a key to discovering the world and living unforgettable experiences, as a source of income, or as a means to transform your life.”
Flora is 41 years old and is in charge of organizing and coordinating the work of 10 families who offer experiential tourism activities through Tropic. Inside a world like the Andes, where the role of women is typically relegated to household chores, getting to where she is today has not been easy. “There are always problems. Many told me: ‘How can a woman be more than a man?’ But those criticisms kept me going. Today I am stronger, and I feel proud.”
Tourism has brought many opportunities to Misminay, but above all, it has become a tool to promote equality. “Women had no income, but today men have changed a lot, and we can work together. It is thanks to tourism that this has happened.” Her advice to the new generations? “Get prepared, study and work, but don’t forget your traditions. If we don’t engage young people, these customs may be lost.”
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