Category: Blog

How to Improve Your Destination Brand

A brand is more than just a logo

To start things off, first, it is important to understand what is a brand, what is the purpose of destination branding and how is it different from destination marketing. A brand is more than just a logo, a color and a slogan. Your destination brand is a reflection of your culture and its people, history and heritage, traditional and modern ways of living, built and natural environments wrapped by the totality of perceptions, feelings and thoughts that your guests have about your destination. It is the foundation of your marketing strategy and the most important marketing tool. Learn what is takes to improve your destination brand.

Destination Branding, commonly referred to as place branding, is thus the process of identifying, crafting and nurturing the unique identity of a destination, building a story around the key elements, values and the destination proposition, orchestrating consistent messaging that highlights just that and, ultimately, forming a reputation in the eyes of its visitors. In other words, destination branding is all about who you are. It is the focal part of destination marketing that, in turn, defines how you communicate and deliver your messaging to the right audiences. 

Tourism Northern Ireland – Winner of The 2020 Travel Marketing Awards, Category Destination Brand of the Decade, image courtesy of Monotype.

 

‘Northern Ireland – Embrace a Giant Spirit’ brand focusing on experiences, heritage and belonging, courtesy of Monotype and Genesis

Brand Purpose for Visit Estonia, courtesy of Lantern.  Estonia’s Repositioning and rebranding strategy focuses on telling a story about a lost paradise and an experience-first destinations that allow travellers to make the most of their time. 

Before the global pandemic pulled the carpet under our feet, tourism was one of the largest and fastest growing economic sectors, according to UNWTO. While the global economy and the tourism sector recovers, eager travellers are anxiously waiting for their turn to travel again. Though it may still be unclear what exactly will the tourism arena look like after recovery and when that may take place, industry experts say the tourism sector will be the last to recover

Not only are thousands of destinations worldwide planning and preparing for reopening, new destinations are created every year joining the competition for the valuable tourist dollars. In such a saturated marketplace, carefully crafting a brand story that will resonate with the key audiences is what will allow your destination to stand out. Differentiation is the ultimate objective of branding. Regardless of geographical location or size, effective destination branding that stands the test of time while remaining competitive, dynamic, innovative and agile to ever evolving industry trends and consumer behaviours, is what holds the key to successful destination marketing and tourism growth.  

How to brand your destination successfully

Instead of replicating the success of one’s competitors or trying to create something entirely new, building your destination brand should focus on the uniqueness of the place and its surroundings. Consequently, the first step to building a destination brand, according to the World Tourism Organization and European Travel Commission, should be an audit of the destination, the emotions and the perceptions associated with it. Followed by that, it is important to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of the destination as well as identify your target market. Understanding your target audience will allow for you to effectively wrap and deliver your destination’s unique selling point. A thorough competitor analysis should be carried out to identify a possible market gap and successfully position and improve your destination brand.

It is important to mention that stakeholder involvement is an integral part of destination brand development and branding process. A brand’s success is directly linked to the acceptance and support from local residents, local businesses and the government. You should consider all these entities as brand ambassadors that will directly impact the perception of your destination in the visitor’s eyes. After completing an inclusive and comprehensive destination audit, you’re off to a great start to build your destination brand. 

Practical tools for destination branding

Practical tools, such as the brand pyramid, can help in defining the destination and brand personality by considering all core components of your destination. The foundation of your brand lies in the rational attributes, the characteristics of a destination and its tourism offer, i.e. the activities, the landscape or the weather. Next, consider the emotional benefits and think about how the visitors feel about the destination and what feelings they take away from their visit. The third layer of the pyramid is the brand personality, the main characteristics and attributes of the brand, including the question of how the brand should be perceived and described by the audience. Is your destination calm, and charmingly intimate or is it wild, vast and rough? Perhaps it is a combination of the two? Furthermore, the brand positioning describes the uniqueness of your brand, led by the question of what makes the destination stand out from their competitors. Finally, the very top of the brand pyramid is the brand essence, the very heart of your brand and what wraps all other components and makes them into one.

After identifying all the components of your unique destination brand, it is time to build an engaging, empowering and passionate brand story that will resonate with locals and visitors alike. Your story will be the backbone of your marketing strategy and integrated marketing communications. Choosing the right visual tools and communication mediums will be essential to improve your destination brand. This means effectively and consistently communicating your brand promise, reaching the right audiences, building relationships based on trust and growing your destination popularity. 

Solimar acknowledges the importance of destination branding and provides more insights about this topic within the Destination Management Organisation (DMO) development course, which provides a deeper dive into the intrinsic components of destination planning, development, branding and marketing.

Interested in learning more about improving your destination brand? Get in touch with us today — we can help take your brand to the next level.

This blog was written by Lena Eckert and Emilija Zagere in July 2021.

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!

Written by Amélie Keller and Vincent Villeneuve

Today on June 8, Solimar International celebrates World Oceans Day to remind everyone that there is no life without the oceans. Oceans cover 71% of the earth’s surface and represent 97% of the water on the planet. They allow us to breathe by providing 50% of the atmospheric oxygen, nourish nearly 3 billion people, welcome 90% of internationally traded goods, constitute one of the most promising sources of clean renewable energy, and employ millions of people–including in marine and nature-based tourism. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credits: Dan Charity

Healthy oceans also ensure a protected climate. Marine biodiversity plays an essential role in climate change mitigation and adaptation and provides many ecosystem services essential for the well-being of human societies. Over the past decades, the ocean has mitigated climate change by absorbing between one-third and half of the human-made carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, constituting one of the largest natural reservoirs of carbon. Marine ecosystems, such as coral reefs and mangroves, also offer valuable adaptation solutions, protecting the coastline from storms, contributing to soil stabilization and water purification, and constituting important habitats for biodiversity. With US $36 billion in tourism revenue supplied to the global economy each year by coral reefs, Solimar recognizes the importance of protecting these critical and endangered habitats in our work with island and coastal economies around the world.

Credits: Jack McKee

World Oceans Day was first declared on 8 June 1992 in Rio de Janeiro at the Global Forum, a parallel event at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) Earth Summit. In 2008, led by Canada, the General Assembly resolved that 8 June would be designated by the United Nations as “World Oceans Day”. (General Assembly resolution 63/111). The purpose of this day is to celebrate the oceans and to raise awareness among the general public of the crucial role they play in our subsistence, as well as in the various means that exist to protect them. This year’s UN World Oceans Day annual virtual event is held virtually in partnership with non-profit Oceanic Global and highlights the theme “The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods”. As the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development has already started, World Oceans Day is a great opportunity to celebrate and appreciate all the benefits humans get from the ocean. It is also the perfect occasion to remind ourselves of our responsibility to use its resources sustainably and to recall that every day should be an ocean’s day if we want to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 14 Life Below Water as well as all the other SDGs. 

Credits: Christian Vizl

Oceans are home to most of the earth’s biodiversity and there is no doubt that the ocean economy has always been an important contributor to growth and prosperity. However, human economic activities have put serious pressure on maritime and marine resources. There is now no doubt that we must do more to protect our most vibrant natural heritage. This is what the concept of the Blue Economy is all about – as well explained by the Ocean Foundation, it refers to ensuring sustainable marine economic activities and enhancing improved livelihoods and jobs while preserving the ocean ecosystem health. For more detailed information about the potential of the Blue Economy, this comprehensive report from the World Bank and the United Nations is a great place to start.

 

What is the Blue Economy? An infographic from the World Bank Group (Credits: The World Bank Group)

As we are living in an era of climate emergency and biodiversity losses, and constantly exposed to environmental heart-wrenching truths through newspapers, blog articles, or popular documentaries (Seaspiracy, Chasing Coral, My Octopus Teacher) – you might now be wondering, as tourism professionals, is there anything we can do to safeguard biodiversity and preserve our marine and coastal areas?

While the impact of tourism on the ocean and the climate is considerable, tourism also represents a vital pillar of a sustainable blue economy and can help drive conservation and restoration efforts around the world. The linkages between healthy ecosystems and a thriving tourism industry is perhaps nowhere more apparent than atop a coral reef. While the vibrant colors of soft coral shallows and intricate reef structures that provide a home for countless creatures can be dulled and broken by careless visitors, they can also be revived by tourism: private protected areas, funded by eco-resorts as seen in places like Misool in Indonesia, can maintain critical no-take zones that allow ecosystems to regenerate and recover while providing employment opportunities for local people.

While the UN underlines that we are currently taking more from the ocean than can be replenished, with 90% of big fish populations currently depleted and 50% of coral reefs destroyed, the Ellen MacArthur’s foundation also reminds us that in a business-as-usual scenario, the ocean is expected to contain one ton of plastic for every three tons of fish by 2025, and by 2050, more plastics than fish by weight.” Contributing to the good ecological state of the ocean and protecting the climate also means changing tourism practices and respecting some simple rules of conduct. By helping tourists adopt the right actions and learn from good practices, we can allow beaches, coastal paths, coral reefs, salt meadows, mangroves, and the ocean to continue to play their role as a climate regulator.

Coastal and ocean-related tourism come in many forms – diving, watersports, wildlife interactions, cruising, beach resorts – and, yes, the tourism industry must assume a major responsibility to take action in sustaining the management of the ocean economy. To do so, active leadership should be integrated at all levels of a destination. Solimar International is committed to helping Destination Management Organizations and tourism stakeholders to reduce large-scale impacts on the natural capital upon which the industry depends. Solimar International is part of the Tourism Action Coalition for a Sustainable Ocean, working together with other tourism leaders to achieve the vision of marine and coastal tourism that is collaborative and regenerative with social inclusion and sustainability at its core. In addition, Solimar International is implementing activities directly aimed at delivering on this vision. Check out some of our past projects to which we conducted sustainable marine-based activities in coastal destinations, such as Mauritius, Panama, and Timor-Leste.

 

Tourism Action Coalition for a Sustainable Ocean (Credits: The Ocean Foundation)

To give you some ideas, we have listed some general tourism best practices examples to follow for a sustainable tourism destination based on the Blue Economy:

  • Ban single-use plastic and reuse as much plastic as possible 
  • Implement guidelines and sustainable activities for wildlife interactions and reef exploration
  • Educate visitors and front-workers about social responsibility and best practices to reduce environmental footprints
  • Lessen the amount of pollution and waste produced by cruise operators, hospitality businesses, tourists, and local communities through awareness campaigns and community events
  • Assess tourism businesses sustainability levels
  • Work with other industries (such as fisheries, governments, maritime transportation, renewable energy, and aquaculture) to conduct holistic and sustainable approaches
  • Employ local people who are on the frontline in our battle to restore our ocean ecosystems, and who are the most knowledgeable about their coastal homes and resources

As summer arrives and the lucky ones are already starting to prepare their luggage for a seaside vacation, it is essential to have in mind some good practices and actions to apply to preserve the largest ecosystem on the planet. By reducing waste, following marked trails, avoiding disturbing marine species, tourists can help protect the oceans while allowing them to fully play their role in the climate system. You too, during your stay by the sea, can protect the ocean and thus contribute to the fight against climate change.

Sustainability is not only green – like the Earth we call home, it is truly blue. So celebrate World Oceans Day, and take this opportunity to remind yourself how beautiful our planet is, especially underwater. To share this world of wonder with future generations, we must ensure that tourism acts to protect these beautiful places and ecosystems–improving them for the many millions of people who have yet to witness their beauty, and the millions more who call these places home.

Feeling like diving now? Sign up to the World Ocean Day event here and take a virtual swim without any harm by discovering this wonderful campaign on Google Earth created by Underwater Earth and The Ocean Agency to raise awareness on the importance of our oceans!

2020 Photo Competition –  Winner of the Category ‘Underwater Life’ (Credits : Michael Gallagher) 

Travel Can Be the Tool to Write the Future We Want — But We Must Do it Carefully

In the midst of our first global lockdown last May, actors from the BBC comedy series W1A created a hilarious parody of their initial lockdown meeting via Zoom, the inauguration of a so-termed BBC Covid-19 “Bounce Back” group to assess the future of television broadcasting as millions were confined to their homes. “What we know of course is that it won’t look anything like the old normal,” Ian Fletcher, one of five floating heads, chimes in. “Or as I think we can safely call it now—the past.”

Nearly a year on, this dry satire resonates almost too well with the rhetoric we have all been swimming in this past year: talk of building back better/greener/bluer/cleaner has dominated narratives from national stimulus plans to entire industries—tourism perhaps the first among them to adopt such language. “I’m a firm believer that every problem is a solution waiting to happen,” Fletcher says confidently to his fellow attendees, their phones held comically aloft as their gazes drift idly from the screen. “And I think we can say with some confidence that we’re looking at one of the biggest solutions any of us have ever seen here.”

Rebuilding Tourism
What’s in a name? Green Destinations is one such organization working to build tangible change in tourism destinations around the world

A recent Bloomberg piece titled “The World Isn’t Building Back Better After the Pandemic” highlights that, out of $14.6 trillion in recovery spending announced by the 50 largest world economies in 2020, only 2.5% has been allocated to green activities. Money instead went largely towards rescuing existing corporations and businesses, with no innovation incentives or green strings attached. It is becoming clearer that, in many ways, we have squandered our opportunity to innovate and solve the problems that got us into this mess in the first place. Like Ian Fletcher, much of the world looked at the problem and expected the solution to present itself, so long as there was a catchy slogan to drive home the message.

Indeed, there is a much bigger crisis at hand with few solutions in sight. With 2020 officially tied for the hottest year on record, the public seemed to grow numb to the scale of destruction at our feet, from fires raging in the Amazon to mass coral bleaching events in some of the worlds’ most pristine reefs. Last year was not a good year for human health or the planet, despite understanding better than ever how these two issues are inextricably linked. Both of these crises require immense global cooperation and human ingenuity to solve; luckily, preventing future pandemics and climate disaster both share one core solution: protecting biodiversity.

As tourism practitioners and tourists ourselves, we understand the incalculable value of standing in the center of a rainforest at twilight, the air transformed into a dense curtain of sound, thrumming with heat and life. Around you grow untold numbers of medical cures to our present and future ailments, stored deep in the soil or in the smallest cell of a bright jungle flower. Cut down to clear the way for human ambition, these cells unleash their power against us, as diseases once contained within dense forest walls skip species and grind all we know to be “normal” to a screeching halt. We have spent a year witnessing the fruits of our destruction. But for everyone who has ever emerged from that jungle night, we too know the power that comes from our perseverance to protect it.

At Solimar we remain deeply committed to realizing this vision to “build back better” alongside our colleagues and communities across the globe, but we also know this cannot be done through rhetoric alone. The scale of the challenge is massive: we lost tropical forest cover the size of California between 2004 and 2017, representing biodiversity and livelihood opportunities we may never get back. Tourism, when it operates at its very best, represents one of the only viable alternatives to continued economic degradation. Community-based conservation activists, from Costa Rica to Cameroon, have shown what happens when this shift begins from the ground up. While Covid-19 has demonstrated the danger of overreliance on an industry easily susceptible to shock, ecosystems that have been sustained thanks in part to the tourism economy can now supply food to local people when visitors disappear, from marine reserves in Indonesia to regenerative agriculture farms in Mexico.

This fact highlights a crucial lesson learned this year. As tourism practitioners who advocate for conservation at the core of our projects, it is crucial that we ask ourselves: for whom are we building back better? Who gets to define “better” in the first place? If better means greater resilience and ability to adapt to change, why is it that local communities who have done the least to cause climate change must be “made” to be resilient to disasters beyond their control? As conservationists and policy practitioners, we must critically analyze the language we use in the everyday discourse of development, especially as we emerge from a year that has changed all of our lives irrevocably.

A recent graphic making its rounds on social media depicted the entire world in three colors: the wealthiest of nations, who would achieve widespread vaccine coverage by the end of this year; still wealthy others who would reach the target by the end of 2022; and the rest of the world, who would not achieve it until beyond then, if ever. As “vaccine passports” open up travel for the haves and tourist destinations for the have nots, we must be more vigilant than ever that we are not just “building back better” for those already better off. Covid-19, for the foreseeable future, is here to stay. We must put in the work to ensure that inequality does not stay with it.

As 2020 came to an end, reporter Gao Yu (高昱) wrote a letter that went viral across Chinese social media channels, as he expressed his despair at the state of affairs in China—but with a message that resonated deeply with how much of the world feels. One memorable passage, translated to English by the China Media Project, reads:

If we have failed then we have failed. I am a positive pessimist. Even if we have returned to the darkness, I won’t go and dwell on those days when light shone. If there is no light, then I must fetch fire. We don’t persevere toward the good things in the world because there is hope; our perseverance is what gives hope. Anything worth having is worth holding on to, and worth waiting for.

If there is one thing that 2020 has made clear, it is this: normal means nothing. Entire economic engines, ways of life and travel, and rules of international engagement have been written over and reworked in ways that no one could have predicted. We make no more promises to the future we expect—only the one we want. In the biting humor of Ian Fletcher, our mock-Zoom chat leader: “This is the time to think big thoughts, and to make the unprecedented into a precedent.” We have spent a year thinking big. It’s time we get to work.

Statistics on the Current State of Tourism and Why Sustainability is More Important than Ever

April 22, 2020 marked the 50-year anniversary of Earth Day. Though holidays may not be at the forefront of the minds of many Americans, it is important to recognize this special day and consider how sustainability will be affected by COVID-19. Solimar’s CEO Chris Seek participated in a webinar in conjunction with Miles Partnership, a tourism consulting and marketing firm and partner of Solimar International, on how destinations and tourism partners can renew their focus on sustainability and destination stewardship with the tourism industry being forced to hit the reset button. The webinar was led and organized by Chris Adams, Head of Research and Insights at Miles, which is continuing to host webinars and support research to help the tourism industry recover from COVID-19.

Current State of American Traveler Sentiment

The webinar began with Erin Francis Cummings, President of Destination Analysts, sharing a summary of their ongoing weekly surveys of Americans to gauge feelings and expectations about travel in light of COVID-19. The perceived safety of travel activities finally improved slightly during the week of April 20th after several weeks of decline. While 37% responded that they would not travel until a vaccine is developed, a similar number disagreed.

Americans also rank travel as one of the first things they want to do after stay-at-home restrictions are lifted. Although the tourism industry is currently hurting, these statistics show that there will be a recovery as demand becomes “pent-up”. 

Americans are also concerned about health risks. Three-quarters say they approve of mandatory health screenings at airports, and two-thirds do not want tourists coming to their communities during the crisis. This suggests that many Americans will change the type of destinations they will visit, and a trend of “active staycations” may emerge. A focus on day trips and local travel will likely recover before international travel does. To watch this section of the webinar, click here.

Current Challenges in Sustainability and Stewardship

Erin Francis Cummings went on to present research conducted in the fall of 2019, which reflected concerns about over-tourism and its environmental impact. According to the State of the American Traveler study, 63% of Americans have told others about over-tourism problems in a specific destination, and half are less likely to visit a destination with these issues. Additionally, data shows a generational divide in how Americans view travel as it relates to tourism, with Gen Z as the most concerned about its environmental effects. The good news is that 32% of all Americans consider leisure travel an important component of their happiness and well-being, and roughly 50% feel tourism is important for their local economies. In short, tourism may be down, but it will be back. Click here to learn more results from the study.

Cathy Ritter, the Director of the Colorado Tourism Office then discussed how DMOs can effectively market and manage their local destinations while addressing environmental and health issues. One such option is to create itineraries and websites for less-visited locales, thus creating a supply for travelers who may be more concerned about health risks and the environment in the future. Creating shared messaging and advertisements with organizations such as the Leave No Trace Center can help ensure that traveler etiquette and sustainability tips are recognized and followed. For the full video of Colorado Tourism’s strategies, click here.

Launching partnerships and coalitions is another great way to encourage sustainability and boost profits for small businesses. Kristin Dahl, VP of Destination Development at Travel Oregon discussed the success of its various Food Trails itineraries, bringing travelers into smaller, rural communities and helping entrepreneurs gain visibility in Oregon’s greater tourism ecosphere. Similarly, the recently developed Care for Colorado Coalition that includes hotel associations, tour operators, guides, and culinary groups around the state is designed around sharing a unified message directed towards tourists to promote a more environmentally mindful way of visiting Colorado.

These types of strategies help strengthen the travel industry and expand opportunities for travelers concerned about both public health and environmental issues. For more examples from Travel Oregon, click here.

Solimar’s Sustainability and Destination Management Strategies

Chris Seek, Solimar International’s CEO, ended the webinar by presenting international examples of sustainability. He stated that DMOs can play a special role in addressing the wants and needs of visitors and residents alike while inspiring the private sector and government to work together in creating integrated plans for destination management and sustainability. For example, Solimar has worked in Sedona, Arizona for several years after local residents and elected officials expressed concern over tourism’s effects on natural resources and habitats. Solimar stepped in to bring together shareholders, such as the city government, chamber of commerce, and Forest Service to create a shared, long-term strategy and action plan based on GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council) criteria.

Planning and site management can also be strengthened through key partnerships. Solimar has been delighted to work with the EU and National Geographic to develop the World Heritage Journeys platform. Solimar developed themed routes, branding guidelines, and a website to promote UNESCO World Heritage sites. The project also engages managers, marketers, and tour operators to execute plans and programs to enhance the quality and sustainability of their destinations.

Finally, one third way of conserving biodiversity in destinations is to establish visitor funding mechanisms. Solimar has worked in Timor-Leste establishing a DMO and creating a forthcoming website. Reefs in Timor-Leste are some of the most biodiverse in the world, and to preserve this ecology, Solimar encouraged the local DMO to enforce a $2 fee for snorkelers and divers to support conservation projects and local fishermen. This kind of funding source is especially important in developing economies that may have less support for tourism from local and national governments.  For the full video of Chris’s section, click here.

In sum, while some tourism strategies may need to be adjusted due to COVID-19, other long-term priorities can continue to address sustainability issues. There will likely be a heavy push towards domestic tourism once we are all allowed to move freely, and government entities are in place to enable conditions for growth. Creating and enhancing linkages via partnerships will help the tourism industry recover and ultimately make it more resilient. The current situation affords an opportunity to refocus on long-term destination stewardship, marketing, and management.

Solimar is grateful for the opportunity to participate in the webinar and help guide the conversation. Click here to view the full webinar recording.

Read on to find out where Solimar is dreaming of traveling this year for Earth Day.

“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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