Guadalupe’s strategic plan to be implemented by the year 2018 seems highly ambitious. However, when you think about the fact that it took Quetzaltrekkers two years to develop trekking routes before it could even open the school in 1997 (which was originally housed in a rented space for a single class of students), or that not too long ago the organization was so small and volunteers so few that guides worked both on the treks and in the classrooms, you understand that Quetzaltrekkers is successful because has been under constant re-evaluation, improvement, and expansion. EDELAC’s most recent long term project involved raising money to build a brand new Hogar Abierto with more space and better facilities, which was completed just last year. Here are the aims of Quetzaltrekker’s newest long term development project which we hope to support:
- Re-location: Currently, the QT offices are located in the back of the somewhat seedy “Casa Argentina”, a low-budget backpacker’s hostel in Quetzaltenango. The first step of the strategic plan is to buy Quetzaltrekkers its own space – a house in the city’s historic center that can accommodate the office, a kitchen and living space for the guides.
- Business Manager: While QT is entirely volunteer run, the plan hopes to install a permanent, salaried business manager to handle the specific functions difficult for a constantly changing staff. These include marketing and publicity nationally and internationally, recruiting voluntary guides and overseeing training, public relations with local authorities, serving as a liason between QT and the EDELAC administration, and managing QT’s partnerships with other local organizations such as Primeros Pasos and Chico Mendez.
- Independent Accounting: This involves developing a more independent accounting administration specific to Quetzaltrekkers in order to better meet national and international standards and improve QT as a social and economic enterprise.
- Youth Participation: While QT sees the kids at the Hogar and the school often, these meetings are generally social. The plan hopes to better facilitate the participation of the children in the work of Quetzaltrekkers in order to teach them about social tourism and the natural wealth of Guatemala and to allow them to share their knowledge and culture with foreign clients.
- Expand QT: This involves further capitalizing on client business by diversifying offered services. The plan calls for more treks tailored specifically for backpackers, extreme adventurers, higher-budget tourism, and the socially and politically conscious as well as the attachment of a restaurant/bar and hostel to the offices of QT.
The over-arching goal of this strategic plan is to booster Quetzaltrekkers as a trekking company so that it will one day be able to fund the running costs of EDELAC 100%.