11Guido van Es - RESPONSible Travel Peru

Guido van Es

Founding Director

About Guido

Since 2002, Guido has been dedicating his life to improving community-based tourism in Peru. He loves the country for its people and landscapes; rough and rugged, colorful and varied. There are few places in Peru where Guido and his motorbike have not gone yet. This makes him a great developer of off-the-beaten-track itineraries for adventurous travellers or companies searching for thematic experiences. As such, several television production companies have made use of Guido’s expertise to develop TV expeditions in remote areas of Peru.

His real strength though? Structuring RESPONS’ work processes, from sales to administration, in enormous Excel sheets. No wonder we ironically call him “Mr. Van Excel” instead of his real last name, Van Es.
Currently Guido lives in Europe but he visits Peru several months a year to make sure he doesn’t miss any news of this country in continuous transformation.

After founding RESPONS with Pablo in 2009 focusing on community-based tourism in northern Peru, Guido refounded it with Alex when he joined the board in 2011 and since then it’s been going upwards only; offering a wide variety of sustainable tourism throughout Peru to a growing number of travellers and tour operators from around the world. The essence of RESPONS, however, has always been and will always be to improve the living conditions of the local people through developing and promoting sustainable tourism. The local communities are always in the heart of Guido and RESPONS.

Guido's Role

Founding director: Daily management, strategic decisions, processes, sustainability, etc.

Q&A with Guido

What is your favourite quirk about Peru?

Just like many Asian cultures, Peruvians tend to have difficulties with giving you a disappointing answer. So generally, when you ask (half out of breath) how far it still is to the final destination of your hike, you will probably get an answer like “aquicito no más” or “acá a la vuelta no más” or “ya está casi casi!”, accompanied by a convincing smile, you thank your new local friend for that kind answer and with renewed energy and relief you continue your journey…. only to find out that the term “aquicito no más” has a very, very flexible definition. Even though the Andean population walks at least twice as fast as the average gringo tourist, it still might refer to a walking time of over an hour, where your western perspective was probably getting ready for the final 5 minutes!! It never ceases to surprise but the cariño with which they continue to “fool” you makes you forgive them again and again.

Why did you want to work for Responsible Travel Peru and why is sustainability important to you?

I created my work (and RESPONS) because I couldn’t accept that no one in the tourism sector believed in CBT! It has been very hard work but I’m so proud that now there are so many people in Peru benefiting from our work, I see great long-term impacts within the homestay families and I have created a dream job for myself and many of my wonderful employees!

What things do you do to make sure your customers have peace of mind and feel safe?

We learn from every mistake and implement improvements to ensure anything in our control won’t happen again. I love creating tools or systems that improve the quality of our service and at the same time allow us to monitor ourselves, on service, on sustainability and many other aspects of our work.