Author: Jenny Lundt

solimar international internship world

At Solimar International, we hold three virtual internship programs every spring, summer and fall that are dedicated to advancing future sustainable tourism industry leaders. In this blog, two of our Summer 2022 share their experiences working on different tourism development projects around the world.

1. Reflections from Isaac Herzog, student at Cornell University and Solimar Summer 2022 Intern:

My Relationship with Timor-Leste

Timor-Leste is a small country in the Pacific Ocean that many in the West have never heard of. Populated by many Austronesian peoples, the island of Timor already had rich traditions by the time it was colonized by the Dutch and Portuguese. After the country gained its independence from the Portuguese empire, Indonesia’s Suharto regime quickly stepped in and took over the country in a bloody war. Finally gaining independence in 2002, Timor-Leste is now a developing nation with a population of about 1.3 million people.

The nation is divided into 14 municipalities. One such division, Ataúro, is an island off the north coast of Dili, the capital city. Ataúro is unique in so many ways and has so much to teach the world. This summer in my internship at Solimar International, I helped the team support ATKOMA, a Destination Management Organization (DMO) based on Ataúro.

Although all I had heard about Timor-Leste before this summer, I was fascinated by the burgeoning nation as I learned more. How small nations’ economies function, what public infrastructure is like, the maritime history, etc. always interested me in regards to small nations, and Timor-Leste was no exception. So, when prompted in the internship application what area I would most like to work with, I jumped at the opportunity to work with Timor-Leste, learn as much as I could about the nation, and help in any way that I could.

Timor-Leste on a map

Challenges Going In

Having never worked in tourism previously and having very little knowledge about Timor-Leste beforehand, I was ill-prepared for the realities of tourism on the island. Firstly, the island is incredibly small and sparsely populated. As it is one of the smaller provinces of an already small country, Ataúro’s population is around 10,000 people; and half are subsistence farmers. This means that half of Ataúro’s population is not considered to be “economically active” because they don’t have incomes and don’t, en masse, participate in markets (literal and economic). Instead, such folks grow, produce, kill, or catch their own food.

Secondly, there aren’t grocery stores, fast food chains, bars, or even really any shops. Most shopping on the island is done at the Beloi Market–the largest on the island–held every Thursday and Saturday. If not there, each village or community usually has markets, some artisanal store to sell handmade goods like baskets and pots, or else you’d have to know someone to make you what you need.

In short, the island functions differently from the life that many visitors come from. And indeed, that is so much of the appeal to visitors of Ataúro: the detachment from the world; the idyllic and untouched land; calm and relaxed days; no sounds of car horns.

The Solimar International Internship

With such an international focus, Solimar International is a truly virtual company with staff members connecting from around the world. This meant that my internship was done through Slack and Zoom. Throughout the summer, I sat in apartments, cafes, and park benches to do my work. Looking back, my internship naturally had several epochs, each more rewarding than the next. 

remote internship solimar international
The internship is 100% remote!

First two weeks

To be expected, the first two weeks consisted of getting my sea legs, both for Solimar and Timor-Leste. When I was accepted into my internship, I was told I would work mostly with a company on Ataúro Island. After the first meeting, then, I spent several days doing Wikipedia dives, reading articles, and learning what there was to know about Timor Leste and Ataúro. The student that I am, I wanted to ensure that whatever work I produced for Solimar and ATKOMA would be properly informed, historically, culturally, linguistically, and otherwise. Plus, I elected to work with Timor Leste due to my interest, and I wanted to use this learning period to satiate my curiosity.

It was during this first week that I got a sense for the task that would be ahead of me. I found that there was in fact very little about Ataúro on the internet in the way of tourism. Most articles were either from ataurotourism.org, ATKOMA’s own site, or else Wikipedia. There were some scientific-catered pages, most discussing Ataúro’s hyper-biodiverse waters, but I could find very little travel advice. It was then clear to me why Solimar was hoping to have me aid with social media creation and blog writing. One of the most important tasks going forth was to improve ATKOMA’s presence online and to build its rapport.

After garnering a little background info on the country and island, I dove into meetings with the two women I would spend the rest of the summer working with. My two mentors, one who led my team of interns and the other who was heavily involved in ATKOMA, had a meeting with me to explain Solimar’s inner workings, what they wanted me to do this summer, and how they were going to support me. Feeling prepared, properly instructed, and pretty excited, I set out on my first tasks.

Continuing into the internship

Once I’d done some intro tasks, gotten to know my mentors, and learned the internal communication services, I was working daily in a coffee shop in my hometown. A significant portion of my work was blog writing, so each day I sat down at a cafe and wrote. I boosted ATKOMA’s social media presence as well, using Instagram and Facebook to improve their presence and recognition. At the same time, I chatted with a gentleman who’s been living on Ataúro for several years working as a dive instructor, hoping to hear a personal account of life on the island. I reached out to photographers via social media to hopefully increase our photo banks, as promoting the island is infinitely more effective if people can see its beauty.

Most rewarding in this middle period of my internship was sitting in on several decision-making Zoom calls and being a part of the mental calculus that Solimar made in our support of ATKOMA. The calls were attended by several of my superiors, the CEO of our company, and some members of ATKOMA, calling in from Ataúro. I found these calls very informative and rewarding, because while I had been effectively working for this local DMO, I finally got to hear some of their internal workings, learn about the nature of their business, their finances, and how Solimar interacts with its partners.

Beautiful white sand beaches of Ataúro Island

Final Days

Throughout my internship, I fell increasingly in love with the work I was doing for Solimar and ATKOMA. Every day, I looked forward to going to my same cafe, getting my same drink, talking with my mentors, writing, posting, and problem-solving. Whether I was writing a blog on doing a homestay in Ataúro, posting on Instagram asking folks to comment their best experiences on the island, or researching payment gateways, every day was a thrill.

By the end, I had written a handful of blogs that I was really proud of, steadily increased ATKOMA’s social media presence, and been an omnipresent aid to my mentors (I’d like to think). As the final weeks of my internship came, I was moving back to my university for my final year, recruiting for my choral group, all the while working for Solimar. It was during these hectic weeks that I came to reflect on all that I’ve learned.

Outcomes from interning at Solimar International

Having never worked in tourism before, my knowledge of the industry was deepened significantly this summer. But, though I learned about sustainable tourism, how to support communities’ DMOs, and the reality of international funding for such projects, most of my takeaways from this internship were what I learned from ATKOMA, Ataúro, and Timor Leste.

From my own work with ATKOMA, I learned that small communities can be economically revitalized with tourism, all while still respecting native traditions. Ataúro’s small villages and communities have indubitably become more viable and brought folks out of poverty by welcoming tourists, all the while asking them to respect the land, water, biodiversity, and way of life.

I also learned small business planning from ATKOMA and policies for small economies from Ataúro. A small organization on a small island in a small country, there are a lot of challenges that the DMO faces: how to hire skilled workers, how to accept payments from abroad, and how to advise on travel when the infrastructure is poor. These and many other questions that ATKOMA asked itself (and Solimar) brought me more perspective about small businesses, which I know are skills to bring into my future.

Additionally, this intern cohort also taught me valuable skills going forth. My fellow interns exposed me to different writing styles; showed me how they balanced travel, life, and work (something I had to learn myself); and brought their different experiences and perspectives into our work. 

Finally, it’s hard to overstate how influential and kind my two mentors were to me. Jenny and Chloe, both taught me so much about the industry, life after academics, how to balance life and work, and the importance of loving your work.

My internship with Solimar has been the most rewarding work I’ve put forth in my career thus far, and I very much hope to follow this career path in the future. 

Isaac Herzog, Solimar International Intern
Isaac Herzog, Summer 2022 Solimar International Intern

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2. Reflections from Miles Rieker, student at UNC Chapel Hill and Summer 2022 Intern:

Upon applying for the Solimar internship, I knew very little about the company. I had taken a business course at my university the semester before, and one topic that stuck out to me was the subject of sustainability. At UNC, one of the focuses on sustainable businesses is the “Triple Bottom Line,” or people, planet, and profit. Businesses should run their operations with these three things in mind at all times. 

Upon seeing the Solimar opportunity come across my LinkedIn, I was immediately drawn to the idea of sustainable tourism. Using my tourism and world travel experience, I thought I could bring a unique perspective to the Solimar team. 

I was ready to dive right in and get started. The first project I worked on was a domestic project for the Inn and Tavern at Meander. It is a quaint, historical inn that has a real homey feel to it. I started by outlining the content plans for the year, and put together a PowerPoint on the topics that needed to be highlighted each month. I also focused on the target audience, and which demographics would respond to which strategy. This was a useful project for me, being a business major, and being able to see how a business breaks down their customers, and how they analyze potential patrons. It was useful to be on the planning side of things, and see how important it is to place an event at a certain time of the month, or during a certain season. It was important for me to see the value of having a detailed calendar and plan. Proposing those things to a committee for feedback can ensure the best possible results and a large reach to the target consumers. 

The Inn and Tavern at Meander

Moving forward into the next project team I worked with, I was “stationed” in Liberia, working on a project that has not come into fruition just yet. Liberia is an interesting subject matter, based on its past. Struggling through a civil war, only to be ravaged by the Ebola pandemic and then Coronavirus, this country may have one of the weakest infrastructures in the world. Utilizing Liberia’s coast could be very effective in establishing a DMO. There are surf destinations, and quaint beach villages, just booming with potential. The first steps, though, include research with the end goal of finding agencies to partner with. Through this process, I was able to learn how to discern which agencies have the largest audience. From there, the team can decide which specific ones to partner with. I found this information very valuable, as I am pursuing a degree in business. One of the most important takeaways I have from this summer is that marketing your product or service is an essential process. If you cannot effectively read an audience, no profit will be made, and in this case, no positive impact can be made in Liberia. 

The final project I assisted on was the Lewis and Clark National Historical Trail Experience. For this project, I was mainly choosing and compiling pictures for the user experience through Bandwango. As I stated in my presentation, this job is very important, because you must choose to represent the site in a positive light. It must draw customers in, as well as accurately depict the attraction. This points back to the theme of promotion and marketing. The site already exists, so the next step is gaining and retaining an audience. The best avenue to do this is through marketing and promotion on platforms like Bandwango. That way, patrons can see exactly which attractions they want to visit, and what each one has in store.

Pittsburgh, the starting point of the LCNHT

It was beneficial for me to see projects at each of their different stages. Meander was well established, but looking for improvements. Liberia was in the very early stages, and the  LCNHT was very close to being completed. Each project was different, but shared similar tasks in the marketing and promotion realm. It was important for me to see that marketing is how you actually make the destination a true attraction. It was also eye opening to see the amount of jobs that creating a resort, for example, could bring into a community. Creating a destination does not only bring in cash flow to a country or community, but it also helps the citizens establish themselves in the world with a job and a place to live. Once these jobs are created, there can be almost a “trickle up” effect where the infrastructure is built up through the people.  

I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Solimar, and learned a lot about running a sustainable business. Even in writing my blog about the Blue Economy, I was able to see the potential that sustainable tourism has to not only change a few countries here and there, but to change the entire world. Using the environment as a renewable resource, instead of taking the resources at an unhealthy rate is not only beneficial to the environment, but the community around the specific area. I truly do believe that Solimar as a company prides itself on thriving in the three areas of the Triple Bottom Line: People, Planet, and Profit.

Miles Rieker, Summer 2022 Solimar International Intern
Miles Rieker, Summer 2022 Solimar International Intern

 

Are you interested in joining our next internship cohort? Learn more here.

Solimar International is pleased to announce our Fall 2022 Travel Writing and Tourism Development Internship Cohort! This semester’s cohort is comprised of 14 inspired individuals with a common interest in sustainable development and tourism. As you will see, each intern has a unique background and experiences that will be highly beneficial to our work. We hope to equip these interns with the knowledge and skills they need to become industry leaders by providing them with hands-on experience in several of our current projects and actively participating in the vision and mission of Solimar International. Without further ado, this fall’s outstanding class of our tourism development internship!

Meet the Current Tourism Development Internship Cohort:

headshot of Ellison Fellers, Solimar international tourism development internship

Ellison Fellers

Ellison holds a BS in Sustainability in Business from Ohio State University and is currently enrolled at the University of Copenhagen, obtaining her MSc in Global Development. Ellison comes with experience working for a US-based NGO within the field of public health, leading volunteer trips to Argentina, Tanzania, Indonesia, India, and Kenya. Ellison currently works within the tourism sector on a development and innovation team striving to promote more sustainable and inclusive tourism experiences. As an avid traveler, her thirst for exploring every pocket of the planet continues to fuel her adventures abroad. She’s hoping to continue to combine her passions by exploring the intersection of tourism and development through regenerative and community-based applications. 

 

 

 

Lalith Chowdary Kankanala

I am a master’s student in Hospitality and Tourism Management from the Manipal Academy of Higher Education in India. I am currently enrolled at Sustainability Management School in Switzerland, pursuing a Dual CAS in Sustainable Hospitality and Tourism Management. I have experience organizing trips, particularly in the sustainable tourism sector, where I emphasize the importance of sustainability and help people understand why it is so important. I hope to gain more experience in gastronomy tourism and project management through this internship at Solimar International. 

 

Lassana Ndiaye

Lassana Ndiaye is a senior at the African Leadership University in Kigali, where she studies Global Challenges Studies with a focus on Wildlife Conservation and Environmental Related Studies. His passion for environmental and wildlife conservation began during the fall semester of 2019 when he had the opportunity to study abroad in Rwanda. During his internship with Maliasili, he learned how wildlife management affects indigenous communities. He worked as an intern in Climate resilience and Anticipatory Action Early Warming (AA) with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization ( FAO). Lassana is fluent in English and French. Lassana hopes to pursue a career in climate resilience and write a policy for a government agency due to her international experience. When he is not reading about current events around the world related to disasters caused by global warming, he enjoys basketball, football, and morning running.

Grace Jaworski

Grace is a third-year student at The Ohio State University working towards her bachelor’s in Environment, Economy, Development, and Sustainability, specializing in Business and Sustainability and a minor in photography. After spending the spring collaborating with university leaders on projects focused on energy consumption, Grace decided to shift gears and pursue her passions for photography and sustainable travel more directly. This internship at Solimar International has already shown her how a love for photography can be connected with marketing sustainable travel, and Grace is excited to connect with others who have similar passions!

headshot of Eileen Dinn, Solimar international tourism development internship

Eileen Dinn

Eileen Dinn is currently a senior at the College of William & Mary in historic Williamsburg, VA where she studies Government and Integrative Conservation. She has a variety of work experience but, most notably, was recently co-leading the development of an administrative proposal regarding future strategic planning for James Monroe’s former property, Highland, located in Albemarle, VA. Through this project, Eileen could dive deeper into the concept of sustainable tourism and incorporate those principles into the proposal. She is enthusiastic about traveling and learning more about the world around her and always strives to find solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.  

 

 

headshot of Tom Hinkel, Solimar international tourism development internship

Tom Hinkel

Tom Hinkel holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and is currently a graduate student at American University’s School of International Service. He has professional experience in both sustainable development and conservation as well as in the government SaaS industry. His undergraduate professional experience gave him knowledge of various conservation efforts, such as protecting the Okavango Delta in Namibia. He is also an avid researcher with academic interests in Europe, Eurasia, and sub-Saharan Africa. With these interests, he has beneficial knowledge of the political context of numerous regions.

Tom studied abroad in Berlin and utilized this opportunity to travel throughout Europe. He was fascinated by the local Catalonian government’s actions toward establishing sustainable tourism practices in Park Güell. During his internship, Tom is excited at the opportunity to further his understanding of sustainable tourism development and how the sector interacts with national governments. 

headshot of Noelle Faiza, Solimar international tourism development internship

Noelle Faiza

As a child, Noelle’s annual trips to visit her family in Tunisia during US school breaks planted a seed that evolved into a passion for travel. Her dual nationality made her curious about the world’s diverse cultures and political systems. At 16, she moved to the city of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where she lived for two years as a United World College (UWC) Davis Scholar. The UWC mission of making education a force to build bridges has become a lifelong philosophy for Noelle, which she applies to many areas of her life. In line with this ethos, she believes travel is one of the most engaging forms of education possible. This past summer, she was awarded the National Security Language Institute for Youth Scholarship to study Arabic in Amman, Jordan, for six weeks. Aside from academic travel experiences, Noelle has backpacked through Montenegro and Croatia, biked 250 kilometers through Bosnia and Herzegovina, and explored the Côte d’Azur via public transportation. Through every experience, she seeks to learn from the people who live in the places she visits to understand the location in a multi-faceted way.

 

 

Madison Tomaso

Madison Tomaso is currently taking a gap year and plans to study Political Science. She is from Pine Knoll Shores, North Carolina. She is passionate about preserving cultural heritage, traveling, and studying foreign languages. As an experienced traveler, she is interested in learning about sustainable tourism. Madison is thrilled to have the opportunity to intern with Solimar International to expand her knowledge. She is excited to bring her skills to Solimar to help benefit the communities along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.

Mavi Wilches

From an early age, Mavi was able to adapt to a nomadic lifestyle from the moment she left Colombia, where she was born, and as she moved from the United States to Brazil, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. She recalls this lifestyle was a life-changing experience, without a doubt, but it was only years later that she truly realized its long-lasting impact. The academic and personal experiences she has gained by transiting through these cultures has allowed her to develop soft skills based on empathy, respect, and appreciation for diversity. As a result, these lessons on multiculturalism, cross-cultural skills, and multilingualism have awakened in her interest in combining development goals with the sustainable tourism paradigm in an attempt to advance social inclusion, community empowerment, and gender equality. She believes this is precisely where Solimar’s Fall Virtual Internship Program fits in!

Mavi looks forward to learning from destination management planning as she assists in simultaneous projects taking place in Tunisia, the Congo, and Timor-Leste, among others. Her goal is to use this experience to decide the next steps, as she just graduated from Fundação Getulio Vargas in São Paulo, Brazil, and now holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration.

Kat Orellana

Kat holds a BS in Biology and Environmental Science from Duke University and is pursuing a Master’s of Environmental Science and Management (MESM) at the University of California Santa Barbara’s Bren School of the Environment. Kat has worked on conservation initiatives through National Geographic’s Big Cats Week and Saving Nature’s Corridor Reforestation Projects. Through her time spent living, working, and backpacking abroad, she witnessed the impacts travel can have on terrestrial and marine ecosystems, as well as its effects on the surrounding communities. Her experiences have instilled a love of travel and an urgency to protect our world’s wild places. Kat is motivated to increase benefits for both biodiversity and local communities through tourism and is excited to join Solimar International’s tourism development internship cohort to create a larger space for sustainability and responsible tourism within the travel industry.

headshot of Marissa Volkman, Solimar international tourism development internship

Marissa Volkman

Marissa’s interest in global affairs began in high school when she had the chance to meet with representatives of the United Nations to discuss unemployment in the European Union. She went on to study at Colgate University in order to take advantage of the school’s ample study-abroad opportunities. As an undergraduate, she majored in English and double minored in philosophy and writing/rhetoric, choosing courses highlighting international perspectives. Outside of the classroom, she edited her school newspaper and pursued extra-curricular opportunities in linguistics to fulfill her ardor for cultural exploration. After completing her B.A. in May 2021, Marissa earned a TEFL certification and began teaching English online. In February 2022, she traveled to Germany to intern at a non-profit, where she worked to highlight locals’ cross-national social histories while fostering community engagement. Her internship demonstrated how tourism could be used to reinvigorate a small town and shifted Marissa’s career goals back towards her passion for international affairs, now focusing on the tourism sector. As an avid backpacker whose zeal for preserving linguistic and cultural diversity directs her travels, Marissa is thrilled to be breaking into the sustainable tourism industry by joining Solimar’s tourism development internship. She is dedicated to using her time here to ensure tourism enriches both travelers and developing touristic communities around the world.

headshot of Cat Padgett, Solimar international tourism development internship

Catherine Padgett

Cat has just completed her master’s degree in Food Security from the University of Edinburgh. As part of this master’s, she completed a dissertation on the intersections of food security and mangrove conservation efforts in Bangladesh’s Sundarban Delta. Solimar was a project partner in this research, providing local connections and project supervision. Through this research opportunity, Cat could travel to Dacope, a sub-district of Bangladesh’s Khulna district, to conduct in-person fieldwork. Here, she worked with one of Solimar’s Bangladesh project partners: Bangladesh Environment and Development Society, a local NGO. This opportunity cemented her drive to pursue research as a career path, supporting projects that center on smallholder livelihood development, local perspectives, and community-based initiatives for the world’s most vulnerable populations.

headshot of Megan O'Beirne, Solimar international tourism development internship

Megan O’Beirne

Megan is passionate about sustainable development, regenerative travel, and environmental education. For the past five years, she has worked as a sustainability professional in the luxury hospitality industry, first in Laamu Atoll, Maldives, and then in Cartagena, Colombia. She has bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Studies and Global Studies from the University of California Santa Barbara. She is currently working on a dual master’s degree in International Affairs, Natural Resources, and Sustainable Development from American University in Washington, DC, and the United Nations University for Peace in Costa Rica. She will be working on Solimar’s Climate Adaptation Project in the Maldives, which aims to incentivize the private sector to invest in nature-based solutions. Megan is an avid bike commuter, scuba diver, nature photographer, and international cook/eater.

 

 

Anaïs Prado Cornaro

Anaïs grew up in Switzerland but coming from a multicultural background, as her parents had both grown up in various countries, she has a passion and curiosity to explore and get to know new cultures and ways of life. From a young age, she has been drawn to nature and its preservation. Hence she plans to study Environmental Engineering at ETH Zurich. While traveling, she has seen many of the wrong sides of tourism and is immensely interested in Solimar’s work incorporating the local communities. Grateful for being a part of the Tunisia project, she hopes to gain clarity on some of the central issues and how Solimar solves them.

 

Want to learn more about Solimar International’s tourism development internship? Read more and apply for our Spring 2023 internship program here.

Blog by: Lassana Ndiaye

Spring 2022 Destination Development and Destination Marketing Internship

We recently kicked off our Spring 2022 Destination Development and Destination Marketing Internship cohort, working with 18 of the most talented budding tourism professionals from around the world. Our interns are from 12 different countries (such as China, Indonesia, Mexico, New Zealand, Italy, and more) and live, study, and work spread across the globe.

Spring 2022 Destination Development and Destination Marketing Internship

Each season, we are amazed at the vast talent and promise our interns share, and this semester was certainly no exception. We received a record-breaking number of applications for this cohort, and have selected the most qualified candidates. These ambitious professionals are joining some of our projects and helping with communications campaigns, DMO development, research, and content writing. They are working on our projects around the world from supporting Friends of Wallacea in Guyana, to Liberia, to Timor-Leste, New Hampshire, and beyond!

Without further ado, get to know the spring 2022 intern cohort and discover the amazing skills that make each one of them unique and talented.

Meet our Spring 2022 Destination Development and Destination Marketing Interns

Destination marketing internship

Eliot Heiss – has significant experience with journalism and communications, as he hosts his own podcast! He has studied in different countries, including Canada and Austria. His degrees are in Political Science, with a specialization in international relations and environmental politics.

Jess Moore – has extensive experience in the field of tourism, with over 19 years working in the field. Her background is in Leisure Studies, and she has dedicated a big part of her career to working on luxury tourism. She has recently discovered a passion for sustainable tourism and wants to use her career to generate an impact.

Hannah Lambert – is incredibly passionate about adventure tourism and sustainability. She is an avid traveler and she is currently traveling through Asia teaching English. Her studies are in Natural Resource Tourism with a minor in Business Administration. Hannah is excited to see her work have an impact on the world.

Kylie Blank – is a junior at Cornell University. She is Majoring in Hotel Administration and minoring in Sustainable Business and Economic Policy. Kylie was inspired to take this internship to gain knowledge in the area of sustainability. She hopes to apply this knowledge into the area of hotel management that she has been actively involved in for many years.

Thomas Kalchik – is an experienced young professional. Most recently, he has been involved in social responsibility in hotel chains and other types of non-profit work related to the tourism industry. He is extremely passionate about the power of tourism and wants to bring people together through travel.

Kim Sucré – looking out for the best study and research experience, Kim has adventured herself to study abroad in the UK and Italy. Her degree is in International Tourism Management, and her passions involve foreign cultures and languages. She is a member of her city’s Council for local tourism development, and she wants to continue to work in tourism development. She has already been applying her vast knowledge of tour planning and development to the Destination Marketing Internship!

Asfar Ahmad – is from Bangladesh but is currently based in Copenhagen, where he is completing his Master’s in Tourism. Asfar is looking forward to contributing with the projects and is hoping that his time with Solimar will boost his career.

Célia Hulin – has strong experience working with a DMC in Myanmar for over five years. She is ambitious and is completing her second Master’s in Hospitality, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation. Most recently, her interests have been focused on working directly with local communities.

Emma Barfus – has lived in multiple places across the United States, which enticed her interest to explore the world. She is currently finishing her degree in international studies. Emma believes that her time in Solimar will give her the tools to become a better professional in the future.

Adam Pudi Luddy – is an activist with a degree in Tourism Business. He is moved by issues such as inequality, human rights, climate change, gender, people empowerment, and poverty alleviation. Adam wishes to address these social issues through tourism and become a sustainable tourism specialist.

Alexandria Kleinschmidt – is passionate about earth science, and she graduated in Geological science from Boston College. She spent two years teaching English in Germany. During her time abroad, she was able to rekindle her passion for cultural and nature tourism, which led her to explore all continents on earth.

Antony Noyes – is very proud of his Japanese, Filipino, and Swedish heritage. Raised in San Francisco, he made sure to keep his family traditions alive by cooking traditional food and spending lots of time outdoors. Antony is very keen on sustainable tourism and is eager to help develop the World Heritage Journeys Silk Road project.

Janis Rehme – is a skilled and experienced young professional in the areas of customer service and event management. He is currently studying International Tourism Management in the Netherlands where he balances his studies with his passion for traveling, exploring nature and meeting new people.

Nina Wang – is based in Hong Kong, where she is pursuing a Master’s degree in Sustainable Tourism. She is passionate about exploring different cultures and being around nature. She hopes to contribute to sustainable tourism and envisions her internship at Solimar as a way of doing so.

Greta Dallan – has recently finished her Master’s in International Tourism Management at the University of Surrey. She is well traveled and eager to learn more about sustainable tourism and destination marketing and management. Her career goal is to improve the state of tourism in Italy, her home country.

Lisa Elmes-Bosshard – was born on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. She has dedicated her life to the tourism industry, an industry in which she has occupied different positions throughout her career. She has traveled the world, from the Caribbean all the way through to Nepal. Now, Lisa dedicates her days to pursuing a Master’s in Sustainable Tourism studies at George Washington University. Her skills make her an ideal Destination Marketing Intern.

Jessica Pool – has great experience living abroad. She has lived in six countries in the last two years. She is currently pursuing an Erasmus Mundus Joint Master’s Degree in Latin American studies. Jessica strongly believes that tourism has the potential to improve life in communities if properly managed.

Caitlyn Marentette – is an undergraduate majoring in South Asia Studies. Her research interests center around the history of colonialism in modern India, Pakistan, linguistic diversity in South Asia, and the Gunpowder Empires. Caitlyn has been an editorial intern for an academic publishing journal for the last year and a half. After graduating, she hopes to continue her studies, pursuing a career in academic research on modern South Asia.

two Destination Development and Destination Marketing interns talking about strategy

Did you enjoy reading about our interns? You can read their full bios here. If you have similar interests in gaining real world tourism experience, visit our internship information page and join our next season of virtual interns!

Solimar International tunisia tourism desert

Kicking off 2022 in New Destinations

Happy new year! As with nearly everyone in the tourism industry, the past two years have been filled with uncertainty for Solimar International. With the volatility of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was uncertain when and if the world would open for travel again. Fortunately, we find ourselves entering 2022 as busy as ever and excited to work in a number of new destinations around the world.

Highlights of several of Solimar International’s 2022 projects include:

1. UNESCO World Heritage Journeys Silk Road

Looking to highlight precious UNESCO World Heritage sites across Central Asia, Solimar is working towards sustainable tourism development of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in six Central Asian countries: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Iran, and Turkmenistan. Working closely with stakeholders from these countries, we are promoting a series of workshops to assure sustainable governance, conservation and promotion of cultural and natural heritage sites. The knowledge will be synthesized and promoted to the public in a website that will feature top aspects of each destination and local attractions. To supplement these detailed learning courses, we have brought several tourism experts to be guest interviewed. This expands upon the work we did to create World Heritage Journeys in Europe and South Asia. Stay tuned for our Silk Road site launch and start planning your trip to Central Asia!

Solimar International uzbekistan tourism project showing islamic architecture

2. Visit Tunisia

Our new Visit Tunisia project aims to increase Tunisia’s tourism competitiveness profile and establish the country as a promising destination by highlighting its cultural heritage, history and rich natural resources. Working closely with the Ministry of Tourism, Solimar is working to develop strategic planning, branding, and tourism products, including events, local businesses and festivals. The project aims to develop areas of the country where tourism is not well established yet. Working together with the public and private sector, fostering sustainable tourism innovation, encouraging new technologies, and stimulating women and youth entrepreneurship will be key factors to the project’s success.

Solimar International tunisia tourism desert

3. Colorado CRAFT

This project, in partnership with Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism (CRAFT), was launched to assist Colorado’s recovery after COVID-19. It consists of a series of workshops, consultancies and action plans to restart the destinations, restart industry associations and reimagine tourism in the destinations. One of the most unique parts of this project is the constant contact with the local community and working together with different stakeholders to establish what is the best way to build a better future for tourism in Colorado. Solimar has a history with this destination through our Lewis and Clark projects so it is good to be present in such crucial moments and help develop a strategy that will benefit the community.

 

4. Tourism Marketing Services for Friends of Wallacea

Have you ever wanted to participate in a unique tourism experience that has real impacts on conservation in one of the world’s most wild places?, venturing down a river deep into Guyana’s pristine rainforests to stay with an indigenous group? Now is your chance! We are working with world renowned tourism for conservation group Friends of Wallacea to bring their Warapoka, Guyana tour to market. Throughout 2022, they are offering incredibly unique opportunities to take conservation minded tourists on a truly unforgettable experience found nowhere else in the world.

 

5. UNESCO World Heritage Journeys Visit Khiva

This project, in partnership with UNESCO, aims to promote cultural tourism in the city of Khiva in Uzbekistan. The city had an increase in tourism flows in 2018 and 2019, which grew stakeholder’s interest and community involvement in tourism related activities. Unfortunately, after COVID struck, the destination observed a decrease in tourism activities. In order to recreate the momentum Uzbekistan was building in 2018, UNESCO partnered with Solimar to help rebuild the tourism sector in Khiva. The involvement of various stakeholders will be essential as we develop a destination marketing brand, website, and marketing program.

 

6. Development of a Regional Ecotourism Development Plan for the Cardamom Mountains in Cambodia

Ecotourism is an important product for Cambodia, as it has the power to harness growth in rural communities, diminish overtourism in urban centers, and improve income opportunities in rural areas. With this in mind, Cambodia’s Ministry of Environment in partnership with Solimar and Emerging360 has invested in research that will help the country develop a plan for ecotourism in the Cardamom mountains. The project will consist of building a six-year Regional Ecotourism Development Plan for three priority destinations that are to be developed as hubs for ecotourism in the country. Solimar’s role will be to assist in detailed desk research about the country’s ecotourism, research on tourism products, and conduct workshops/ interviews to better understand local needs.

 

7. USAID Republic of the Congo

With a more financial and economic side, this project aims to assess potential development and investment opportunities in the Republic of Congo. It aims to follow an innovative approach of adaptability according to different phases of implementation. Solimar’s role will be to create a bridge between the tourism industry in the Republic of Congo and international investors, mobilizing experts in ecotourism to help build a sustainable tourism background and develop a National Tourism Strategy. We will also play an essential role in creating links between the private sector, national government, and local communities to identify the country’s touristic potential and improve regulations that will allow the development of sustainable tourism.

Solimar International project tourism republic of congo

 

8. USAID Liberia Conservation Works

With the primary focus on conserving biodiversity and enabling sustainable economic growth, this project aims to engage the communities in the management of protected areas in Liberia. With an innovative approach, Solimar, USAID and various partners in the field of development and conservation, want to build an easily replicable model that will promote ecosystem and species protection, facilitate equity, and increase prosperity and local ownership. This will be done through the development of a business and investment environment in the country, building tourism infrastructure and supporting activities related to the management of protected areas. We recognize the important role that tourism plays in environmental protection. Because of that, we are working towards building a path that will lead to effective policies, helping tourism maximize its potential.

 

9. New Hampshire Sugar River Region

With its newly established Sugar River Region Destination Council (SRRDC), Sullivan County in New Hampshire is seeking to position its regional offerings as a growing destination for the US market. With its vast experience in building DMOs, Solimar will work closely with the SRRDC and students from local universities for capacity building. The project will take place through various workshops that will display best practices from DMOs from the US and abroad.

 

10. USAID Bangladesh Ecotourism and Conservation Alliance

The Sundarbans forest is an ecosystem that is essential for local livelihoods and culture. The importance of the Sundarbans is recognized on a global scale, as it is the world’s largest remaining mangrove forest. The lack of regulation in touristic activity in the region has resulted in diminishing biodiversity and negative impacts against the life of fisherman who depend on this ecosystem for subsistence. Keeping this in mind, Solimar and USAID are working to build lower impact tourism in the region by mapping sites that require interventions, creating strategic plans to increase visitation, establishing a DMO and conducting campaigns that promote conservation. To achieve this, we will work closely with both the public and private sector to secure investments.

Solimar international Sundarbans project

 

 

Solimar International is proud to be a signatory of the Glasgow Declaration oon Climate Action in Tourism

Solimar International is proud to be a signatory of the Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism.

The world’s dependence on fossil fuels, unsustainable land use, and wasteful consumption patterns drive climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. Rebalancing the relationship with nature is critical to regenerating both its ecological health and our personal, social and economic well-being. It is also critical for tourism, which relies on and connects humans with flourishing ecosystems. 

As a leading sustainable travel consulting and marketing firm, Solimar International has engaged with over 300 destinations and community leaders around the world to develop tourism-based initiatives that support communities and conservation. The local communities that we work with are on the front lines of climate change: contributing least to the crisis, they are facing the worst consequences. We are committed to helping these communities adapt, mitigate, and transform in the face of these impacts—from promoting regenerative tourism that centers community and nature first, to guiding tourism businesses in adopting nature-based solutions—and we call on the countries and parties present at COP26 to do the same. Our planet cannot wait.

solimar international aligns our plans with the five pathways of the Glasgow Declaration to accelerate and co-ordinate climate action in tourism

How do Solimar’s activities reinforce our commitment to sustainable tourism?

Solimar International has long been working on the tourism development projects tackling challenges within sustainable tourism development, regenerative tourism, climate resilience, community-based tourism, cultural heritage, nature conservation, and more. So it was a natural thing for Solimar to join The Glasgow Declaration to stand next to some of the most influential organizations in the sector to fight climate change.

The Glasgow Declaration on Climate Action in Tourism was officially launched on November 4, 2021 at the COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference. The aim of the pledge is to raise the climate ambition of tourism stakeholders and secure strong actions to support the global commitment to halve emissions by 2030 and reach Net Zero as soon as possible before 2050. Transforming tourism through climate action is crucial for the sector’s competitiveness, sustainability and resilience.

The intent of the Glasgow Declaration is to urge all travel and tourism stakeholders to unite and commit to aligning the sector’s climate ambitions with scientific recommendations and international agreements.

By defining a clear and consistent sector-wide message and scientific approach to climate action; outlining the pathways and specific actions that will accelerate tourism’s ability to transform tourism and achieve Net Zero and encouraging signatories across all sectors of tourism to demonstrate their public support for scaling up the sector’s response to the climate emergency the Glasgow Declaration intends to intensify the attention to climate action in tourism industry.

The Declaration aims to:

  • Define a clear and consistent sector-wide message and approach to climate action in the coming decade, aligned with the wider scientific framework and urgency to act now. 
  • Outline the pathways and specific actions that will accelerate tourism’s ability to transform tourism and achieve net zero emissions as soon as possible. 
  • Encourage signatories across the tourism industry to demonstrate their public support for scaling up the sector’s response to the climate emergency

The signatories of the Glasgow Declaration agree on five shared pathways to ensure climate action is aligned across all of the tourism sector:

  1. Measure: Measure and disclose all travel and tourism-related emissions;
  2. Decarbonise: Set and deliver science-based targets to accelerate tourism’s decarbonisation;
  3. Regenerate: Restore and protect ecosystems, supporting nature’s ability to draw down carbon, as well as safeguarding biodiversity, food security, and water supply;
  4. Collaborate: Share evidence of risks and solutions with all stakeholders and our guests, and work together to ensure our plans are as effective and co-ordinated as possible;
  5. Finance: Ensure organizational resources and capacity are sufficient to meet objectives set out in climate plans.

Solimar International supports the global commitment to halve emissionns by 2030 and reach net zero as soon as possible before 2050

All the signatories pledge to commit to joining the climate action:

“We declare our shared commitment to unite all stakeholders in transforming tourism to deliver effective climate action. We support the global commitment to halve emissions by 2030 and reach Net Zero as soon as possible before 2050. We will consistently align our actions with the latest scientific recommendations, so as to ensure our approach remains consistent with a rise of no more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.

See the list of signatories here.

Solimar International is proud to be a signatory of the Glasgow Declaration oon Climate Action in Tourism

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“We rely confidently on Solimar's deep technical experience and professionalism as tourism consultants. You always are exceeding our expectations.”
Leila Calnan, Senior Manager, Tourism Services Cardno Emerging Markets

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