We talked to Eduardo Aguilar of Sea Saffron about guided tours & gastronomy in unique venues of Valencia and he had the following to say about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Eduardo Aguilar: We are fine, thank goodness. We are grateful that we have been able to be all together this year and have focused on remaining positive and doing what we can to keep each other going.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Sea Saffron.
Eduardo Aguilar: I founded Sea Saffron in my final year of EDEM business school. I wanted to combine my interest in business with my passion for wine, gastronomy, and my hometown of Valencia. With this in mind, I detected a gap in the market for unique experiences in Valencia for international travellers. I developed Sea Saffron as a way to combine unique venues of Valencia with the key sightseeing of the city and a way to showcase the best of local gastronomy and wines. We wanted to offer travellers a truly memorable experience.
How does Sea Saffron innovate?
Eduardo Aguilar: We trust our clients and listen to their feedback. Through this invaluable information, we are able to adapt the experience to constantly improve from everything from the menus to the wines to the format of the experience. We try our best to stay abreast with what is happening in wider tourism trends and aim to modify our experience to reflect this.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Eduardo Aguilar: As our business was largely dependent on international tourism and foreign travellers, we have had to drastically shift the business model. We are lucky enough to rent some of the city’s most emblematic venues. Given international tourism status, we have decided to open these venues up to a local market and develop experiences tailored for Valencians. It has been challenging but interesting to learn about an entirely new market and its interests and needs.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Eduardo Aguilar: 2020 has proved the importance of a core team, not just in moments of the celebration but also in moments of challenge. One of the key things they always talk about with startups is agility, but this year has actually put that to the test: how agile are we when faced with difficulties? How quickly can we adapt?
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Eduardo Aguilar: It sounds like a cliche, but it is crucial to stay positive. Not only did I have to motivate myself to face new challenges, but I also had to keep my team motivated, encouraged, and upbeat. I tried, as much as possible, to channel the stress and anxiety into positivity and productivity.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Eduardo Aguilar: We have many competitors working in the tourism sector in Valencia, but the pandemic, in some ways, has been the great equalizer. Everyone is trying to recuperate international tourism and encourage foreigners to return to Valencia.
Your final thoughts?
Eduardo Aguilar: It is clear that the pandemic has changed many things, not least the tourism sector and the ways in which people travel. However, what is clear is that the wanderlust is still there, and we will be waiting with open arms when tourism returns to Valencia.
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