Author: Kuanlin Lu

Travel Photography: National Camera Day

With the development of technology and digital devices, it has now become so easy for us to take photos with our smartphones or digital cameras in our daily lives, especially when we want to capture wonderful moments on a trip with family and friends. But have you ever thought about how cameras got invented and the stories behind travel photography? On June 29th this year, Solimar International celebrates National Camera Day with the world. Let us take you on a journey to get an insight into the invention that sparked the world of travel photography. 

A short history of cameras and photography

The history of the camera dates back even further before the development of photography. Before the modern form of the camera was invented, camera obscura – or the Latin word for “dark room” – referring to a natural optical phenomenon of an image projected through a small hole in the screen and showing on the other side of the screen, was described earliest by the Han Chinese philosopher Mozi in his principle.


Source: Camera Obscura and World of Illusions Edinburgh 2021


In 1825, the first photograph was captured by the French inventor Nicéphore Niépce with a fixed image that didn’t fade away, and it had set the foundation of photography. Later, the first photographic camera for commercial manufacture was developed by a Parisian art restorer Alphonse Giroux in 1839, which was a type of daguerreotype camera – a forerunner of the modern film. In the 1970-90s, numerous manufacturers began to work on cameras that store images electronically, thus the first point-and-shoot camera came into the world. It was also the Digital Age of cameras. On the other hand, photography only remained among the rich until George Eastman, the founder of the company Kodak, made photography accessible to the public after the 1880s with the invention of photographic roll film. As the technology evolved over time, digital cameras were developed, gradually becoming the camera function we use nowadays on our smartphones. 


Modern Cameras and Travel Photography

Nowadays almost everyone has a camera on their smartphone, and it is so easy to click a button to capture any moment. Digital cameras have also become the main type of camera that professional photographers use, as they can adjust the exposure, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, shooting modes…and many more features that would create different effects on photography. As technology improves, even better cameras are able to be incorporated into smartphones, which makes travel photography more accessible for the remote destinations Solimar works in. On Atauro Island in Timor-Leste, for example, our team helped to create the tourism website for the island using mostly photos from staff member smartphones and local partners on the ground. 

Among all types of photography, travel photography is a genre that involves the documentation of an area’s landscape, people, cultures, customs and history. The Photographic Society of America (PSA) defines travel photography as “an image that expresses the characteristic features or culture of a land as they are found naturally” with no geographic limitations. Whether it’s the breathtaking panoramic views on top of mountains, the glittering reflection of the ocean under the sun, or the vitality of greenery in the tropical rainforest or the wilderness of the boundless desert, the moments are as if frozen in time when we press the shutter on the camera. Aside from natural landscapes, travel photography can capture the uniqueness of different cultures from around the world, inspiring people to travel like this photography series documenting the life of Inuit people across the world. 

Source: Own, in Venice 2021                            Source: Jackson Simmer on Unsplash

Celebrating National Camera Day 

As the saying goes: a picture is worth a thousand words. On June 29th, Solimar International celebrates National Camera Day with the world, recognizing the thousands of words, languages, cultures, and landscapes contained within a camera shutter. Despite the challenging COVID-19 situation that put the travel and tourism activities to a halt, we can learn to observe our surroundings and appreciate every little detail in our lives, and to capture the precious memories on the photographs that we can hold on to when we look back in time. So pick up your camera and create your own moments and tell your stories through photography!

On June 17th 2021, President Joe Biden declared June 19th a Federal Holiday, the first day to receive this recognition since 1983. This new holiday, called Juneteenth, marks a pivotol moment in United States history, one that commemorates the end of slavery. This article details the history of Juneteenth and ways it is celebrated across the United States.


In 1861, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation declaring that “all enslaved people in the states currently engaged in rebellion against the Union shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free”. However, this Proclamation hardly impacted many enslaved people, as only a few Union troops were able to enforce the new Executive Order. Two years later on June 19, 1865, Union Army general Gordon Granger proclaimed the end of the Civil War and the liberation of enslaved African-Americans in Galveston, Texas via General Order No. 3. When more troops led by General Granger arrived along with the surrender of General Lee, this bolstered force was able defeat the resistance and liberate the enslaved. Each year, the United States will now mark the anniversary of this momentous order on June 19th, called Juneteenth.

Juneteenth Festivities and Celebrations

Also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Emancipation Day, or America’s second Independence Day, Juneteenth is celebrated in every state across the United States. There are nuances to the day, simultaneously acknowledging the dark history of the United States while celebrating the contributions of black Americans to American society. There is also a strong element of education, with the work of prominent black artists and thinkers such as Ralph Ellison and Maya Angelou. Other festive celebrations include parades, parties, picnics, and music festivals in honor of freedom and collective diversity. Check your nearest town to find out what Juneteenth celebrations are happening in your community. 

Source: A. Ricketts for Visit Philadelphia

Juneteenth and Food Tourism

In Tourism Review International, Anne Donovan and Karen DeBres claim Barbecue is the centerpiece of most Juneteenth celebrations, as the food is closely linked with African-American origins. The original barbecuing method was to slowly roast the seasoned pork in a pit dug into the ground, also called “pit-barbecue”. The introduction of barbecuing culinary methods later got extended and blended in the American culture with the migration of the African-American population to different states. The preference of taste for barbecue cuisines also have developed locally over time. Consequently, food and barbecue has become one of the major attractions of Juneteenth. Aside from participating in the parade and getting to know the history through the interaction with the local community, the tourists are also often attracted by the delicious barbecuing food presented in the Juneteenth celebrations. 

Juneteenth Today and Further Meanings

Following the Black Lives Matter (BLM) – a political and social movement protesting against incidents of police brutality and racial violence targeting black people, the meaning of Juneteenth has become increasingly profound and culturally significant. The movement began in 2013 and garnered increasing attention after the murder of George Floyd by the police on May 25, 2020. The Juneteenth parade in 2020 was fueled by the momentum of the protest calling for justice and racial equality. The recognition of Juneteenth seems to be shifting from a historical celebration to a deeper legacy reflection of slavery and racial discrimination in American life.

Source: Leslie Cross on Unsplash

This year, despite the challenges created by COVID-19, there are still physical events and festivities taking place in many states to celebrate, attract domestic tourists around the country to take part in the festivities. The adaptation of celebrations not only empowers Americans to commemorate the meaningful day, but also for people around the globe to participate and understand the historical day and how we can achieve equality.

Get outside today and join your nearest Juneteenth celebration, showing up as an ally committed to rectifying the country’s dark history of systemic oppression. It is crucial for Americans to learn from our mistakes and strive for a more just society. Showing solidarity is an important first step.

Tourism supports World Environmental Day

All living creatures on Earth depend on a healthy and balanced ecosystem to support their basic needs, and human beings are no exception. Over the years, the rapid expansion of cities and industrial developments have taken a toll on the environment, causing the collapse of ecosystems and biodiversity in some of the world’s move beloved destinations.

To raise awareness and call for actions from people all over the world, World Environment Day (WED) was established on 5th June by the United Nations since 1972 with the slogan “Only One Earth”. Each year there is a host city with a specific theme addressing environmental issues, pushing people to participate and stimulate positive behavior in order to promote a sustainable future. 

This year, WED will be hosted by Pakistan and calls for urgent action for ecosystem restoration. This years event will coincide with the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030, an international movement that aims to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems through the participation from governments, corporations and citizens across the globe. 

Tourism supports World Environmental Day
Source: United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030

The government of Pakistan also launched the 10 Billion Tree Tsunami Programme in 2019, aiming to revive forests and wildlife resources. One of the key components of this mission is the planting trees for biodiversity conservation over the next 5 years. The plantation target of total 1 billion trees is set to be achieved by 30th June, 2021. As a result, the program provided 84,609 green jobs in Pakistan through the The Forest and Wildlife Departments during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Environmental sustainability via tourism
Source: Ministry of Climate Change Government of Pakistan

In fairness, restoration does not always mean that it’s possible to restore nature and ecosystems to their original state. The destruction from human beings on the natural ecosystem from urbanization, travel and global trade are the main drivers of frequent emergence of zoonotic diseases.Sometimes, it is nest to remove pressures from the environment so that nature can heal on its own. The economic benefits of restoration surpasses nine times the cost of investment, while it is at least three times more costly without any action

Amid the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic that has put a halt to human activities and traveling, it is now essential for the tourism industry and destinations to rethink sustainability and take regenerative actions. Sustainability, in this case, might be defined as meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability for future generations to meet their needs. 

Solimar has been helping destinations rethink their approach to management through The Institute for Sustainable Destinations, a recently launched online training and resource platform designed and developed by professionals within the industry that provides an integrated system for sustainable destination marketing and management. At ISD, Solimar focuses on economic enhancement, ecosystem regeneration and cultural enrichment perspectives, guiding leaders and DMOs through the destination development journey. As one of the fastest-growing industries around the globe, it is important for the tourism businesses to create strategies for crisis management and enhance the adaptability to all types of risks under the resilience-based framework. Beyond World Environment Day, it is the responsibility of each of us to be more mindful of our daily actions and decisions to minimize the impact on the ecosystem. After all – we only have one Earth.

“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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