Celebrate Earth Day by Dreaming of Destinations

Today we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, an event started in 1970 when one out of every 10 Americans took to the streets to protest the environmental impact that industrial development had brought to the world. We now find the entire planet united in the effort to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, which has quickly become an unprecedented health and economic crisis. While our global community is working to manage this virus, we can’t help but wonder: What if the entire world united to protect our environment? Does this disruption to the travel industry give us the opportunity to rethink those vacations we might have once taken for granted? 

At Solimar, we strongly believe that tourism can help protect our planet. While we recognize air travel contributes to climate change, our friend Costas Christ reminds us that flying can also be a force for good for the planet. We work with destinations around the world that utilize sustainable tourism to protect wildlife, preserve wide open spaces, celebrate local cultures, and improve the lives of local residents. While travel restrictions may keep us from the ability to hop on a plane tomorrow, one of the greatest joys of travel is researching new destinations and anticipating that next adventure. For this Earth Day, we encourage you to take a break from the latest headlines to do some dreaming about your next travel destination. We welcome you to explore a few of the places where Solimar is working to help you begin planning your next earth-friendly adventure.

World Heritage Journeys
of Europe & Buddha

Visit UNESCO’s World Heritage Journeys Sustainable Tourism Platform developed with support from Solimar and National Geographic to help you dream about 34 World Heritage sites from the EU or three World Heritage sites of Buddhist heritage in South Asia. Take a tour to discover why these sites are designated as World Heritage or immerse yourself in a 360 virtual tour of the romantic city of Bruges, a participating site of the Romantic Europe journey.


Grobglockner Alpine Road, Austria

Known as one of Austria’s top three Alps destinations, the Grossglockner High Alpine Road is one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the world. Solimar is assisting Schmiek Plant, an Austrian tourism consulting group, conduct a comparative analysis of scenic byways around the world to help make a case for World Heritage inscription of this famous and beautiful scenic drive.


Republic of Georgia

This small but incredible country in the Caucasus Mountains offers visitors world-class wine, adventures, and cultural heritage experiences. There is a reason the Republic of Georgia was one of the fastest growing tourism economies on the planet before COVID-19, and there is no doubt it will recover quickly. Take a video tour of Georgian adventures, Georgian food, winters in Georgia, and summers in Georgia.  If you still don’t believe us, listen to the social media posts from travelers who visited Georgia and shared their emotions. Solimar is working with USAID and DAI through the Economic Security Program to strengthen regional destination management organizations, assist Caucuses University obtain Ted-Qual Certification, improve interpretation planning of key heritage sites, and update the National Tourism Action Plan to help the country recover from the COVID-19 crisis.


Sisian, Armenia

Discover Sisian, an off-the-beaten-path town in Southern Armenia that is the perfect basecamp for exploring the Syunik Region. Take a video tour of the Sisian History Museum, discover the hiking adventures and Soviet-era jeep tours waiting for you with Basen Tours, watch the inspiring story about the Sisian Women Resource Center that is supporting women craft makers, or take a hike from the famous Tatev Monastery through abandoned villages on your way back to a wonderful overnight in Sisian. Solimar is working with USAID and Smithsonian to create a destination management organization in this wonderful town.


Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea combines an incredibly diverse culture with an array of outdoor tropical adventures, highlighted by the 96 kilometer Kokoda Track. Check out PNG through the eyes of its local people with this virtual tour from the Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority and see how past history and traditions link beautifully with the country’s tourism offerings today. Solimar is currently working with the Tourism Promotion Agency to develop a new five-year tourism action plan that will help guide the country’s COVID-19 recovery efforts.



Tucked between the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean, Timor-Leste is the ideal destination for travelers searching for exotic locales with few tourists. What Timor-Leste lacks in size, it makes up for with its wildly rich cultural heritage, world-class diving and snorkeling, beaches and fishing. Intrepid travelers may choose to venture to Ataúro Island, roughly 20 miles from mainland Timor-Leste for a truly one-of-a-kind travel experience. Take a virtual tour and learn how tourism is helping to support marine life and about the sustainable efforts happening within Ataúro’s fishing culture. Solimar has been supporting local tourism stakeholders, creating a destination management organization in Ataúro and is building a destination website designed to educate visitors and support community-led tourism.


Annapurna Conservation Area of Nepal

With stunning mountain ranges, deep gorges, traditional villages, rich cultural diversity, and important spiritual sites, the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA) is one of the most important and popular tourist destinations in Nepal. Take a 3D tour of the famous 220KM trek around Annapurna Mountain or enjoy these amazing views and vistas from our friends at World Expeditions. Solimar is working with the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation to attract a different and higher paying market to ACA through investment promotion for new accommodation offerings in Jharkot and Tukuche.


Southern Tanzania

Tanzania is known as a tourism destination by most travelers around the world mostly because it is home to Serengeti and Kilimanjaro National Parks, however these two parks are located in the far north of the country and leave Southern Tanzania with very little tourism traffic. With many parks and game reserves, the lower portion of Tanzania is a dream for all visitors searching for off-the-grid boating and walking safaris. Tour the Mbinga District for a cultural trip and find exotic safari experiences in this still-being-developed section of Tanzania. Solimar is kicking off a new project to help develop a marketing strategy, communication materials, and establish a regional Destination Management Organization for the Southern Circuit.



While Solimar is no longer working in Namibia, this destination will always be in our hearts. They say “once you visit this pristine land of untouched natural beauty; of vastness, of awe-inspiring contrasts and mystical splendour it touches the soul. You take it with you forever.”  Namibia’s endless horizons and wide open spaces are the ideal place to find balance in nature. Watch this video from our friends at Travel News Namibia and the Namibia Tourism Board that reminds us Namibia is waiting for you.



Jamaica is often thought of as a prime destination for sun, sand and sea vacationers. Its numerous beaches and crystal clear waters validate this description, but Jamaica’s renowned culture and history provides the island nation the perfect backdrop for cultural heritage and community tourism. Take a virtual tour of the Rastafari Indigenous Village, a group that Solimar is supporting to preserve the heritage and economic well-being of the Rastafari community through sustainable tourism.


Cayman Islands

West of Jamaica lies another gem of the Caribbean. For decades, the Cayman Islands has been a paradise for beach-seekers and divers alike. Take a virtual tour to discover the thriving underwater paradise that neighbors the islands’ shores and find out why so many travelers are dreaming of the Cayman Islands while staying home. Solimar International worked alongside The George Washington University in building a Visitor Management Strategy and National Tourism Plan for the Cayman Islands.


Or maybe something a little closer to home…
The tourism industry is in an unprecedented state as it reacts to the coronavirus pandemic. One near certainty is that domestic travel will recover quickly as restrictions are slowly repealed. Here are a few places where US-based travelers might consider to scratch that ever-deepening travel itch.

The Inn and Tavern at Meander, Virginia

The Inn and Tavern at Meander, located a short drive from Washington, DC offers what everyone is craving at this time of crisis – nature, silence, and solitude. Meander’s new contactless hospitality program invites travelers to self check-in to their own private cottage and enjoy room service via text, while taking in the views of the Central Virginia Foothills. Nestled on 80 rolling acres near Shenandoah National Park, Meander brings guests back through time in its tastefully renovated home that was built originally in the 1700s. Take a tour through The Inn and Tavern at Meanderand a virtual drive on the famous Skyline Drive, one of the most beautiful drives in America. Solimar helped bring together a group of family and friends to purchase this historic property and use sustainable tourism to preserve its history including hosting some of America’s founding fathers, including Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.


Huntington, West Virginia

Huntington, West Virginia is located on the banks of the Ohio River and though relatively unknown, the city has an eclectic mix of tourism offerings for both nature-lovers and those searching for a true Americana adventure. Take a video tour of the mountains, meet the people and immerse yourself in the cultural heritage of Huntington, WV. Solimar is working on a Market Strategy and Economic Feasibility Study to support economic diversification via tourism in the region.


Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail

The National Park Service stewards the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail and offers a trip through American history that stretches 4,900 miles and through 16 states, from Pittsburgh to Oregon. The historic trail links the towns, cities and counties along the expedition route while supporting historical preservation, all while celebrating the unique local cultures and living traditions of today. It has probably been years since you studied this important and remarkable historical event, so take a few minutes to watch this trailer for the Ken Burns Documentary on this amazing expedition. Solimar is in the midst of building a sustainable travel website to promote the tourism opportunities along this trail by inviting tourism leaders and local residents to share what they recommend to visitors tell their story in their own words.

We hope that sharing these incredible destinations has inspired our to begin planning your next trip. On earth day and every day, remember that your travel choices can make a difference in helping to protect the environment.

“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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