ESADE Masters Student Plans Luxe Hotel In Disused Portuguese Convent!

Guilherme Rocha Moreira wants to take lessons from Spain's luxury tourism industry home to Portugal

ESADE Masters student Guilherme Rocha Moreira plans to apply the insights gained from living and studying business in Spain to setting up a luxury resort in rural Portugal.

The ESADE Masters in International Management student is a native of Portugal and after years of vacationing abroad wants to see his home country move up a notch on the tourism scale.

When we skyped with him earlier this week he was due to meet with the ESADE professor guiding his business plan, a project which is part of the MIM + CEMS programme.

The MIM + CEMS programme is the prestigious MSc International Management (MIM) that ESADE offers as a member of the Community of European Management Schools (CEMS).

Guilherme, 24 has always been interested in travel tourism and luxury. He says, “When I was younger, my family and I always went on vacations in places both inside and outside Europe. It got me interested in tourism and luxury products and services and now my goal is to start a prestigious hotel but in the rural Portuguese setting.”

The general idea of his scheme is to offer similar standards of luxury treatment found in prestigious hotels around the world but employing local resources and manpower so as to transfer income from the top to the bottom.

Guilherme was thinking of doing a business plan and leaving it at that when his sister, who is an architect in Portugal, informed him of an abandoned convent that is up for reconstruction.

He now plans on putting his holiday resort idea forward but first wants to create the best possible business plan. This summer he will be studying the factors behind Spain’s successful luxe tourism market for lessons that he can apply to Portugal.

We asked Guilherme why Portugal lags behind Spain in high end tourism, and he put it down to culture. He says, “In my culture, people don’t always put in their best effort because their leaders don’t drive them to. There is a lack of managerial skills and a lot of corruption, even in public bodies. Things like taxes and grants are not straightforward and this hurts small businesses”.

Before Guilherme’s plan can swing into action he has to complete an exchange semester in Cologne, Germany. We asked him why he wasn’t visiting somewhere exotic and he said he wanted to learn about cultures in as many European countries as possible since he plans on working on the continent.

He has already visited Singapore, having gone there in 2008 while he was an undergraduate at Nova University in Lisbon studying Economics, and again during a study tour with ESADE Business School.

Guilherme told us that he hoped to make as many European connections as possible on the Masters programme. ESADE was his top choice because of its location in Barcelona, the opportunity to gain world class business knowledge, and its high ranking.

On the CEMS programme, Guilherme has experienced working for a small business. He recently completed a live consultancy project for a company and his group of 20 or so students, divided the roles between them. He was the CEO of the group for half of the project before switching places with the Vice-CEO.

Aside from tourism, basketball is a another of Guilherme's passions. If you can put up a good game, you might be in line for a discounted weekend at Hotel de Guilherme. Of course, you will have to get in line behind a lot of vacationers!

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