Tourism for Development Blog

Meet Sylecia Johnston, Solimar’s New DMO Solution Lead

Solimar International is known globally for our significant work in sustainable tourism initiatives. Engaging in enterprise readiness schemes, developing destination management organizations (DMO), and creating responsible tourism practices, the company is leading the way in countries that have huge economic potential for tourism post-COVID. And no one is better suited to help develop and achieve […]

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Sunset in Liberia

Sustainable Tourism in Liberia: Digital Marketing and Development

Liberia is a country that suffered from political turmoil between 1989 and 2003. Tragically, this political turmoil also destroyed Liberia’s tourism sector. While this is the case, the country of Liberia is beautiful and has much to offer to tourists from all around the globe. In the last two decades since the war, the Liberian […]

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Sustainable tourism certifications can help with these beautiful destinations

What Are Sustainable Tourism Certification Schemes and Do They Work?

Sustainable tourism certifications are designed to voluntarily assess and monitor the environmental and social impacts of tourism organizations or destinations that facilitate tourism activities. Accreditation is done by certification bodies according to many criteria regarding business practices, social policy (i.e. human rights, fair labour, and child protection), environmental impact (i.e. CO2 emissions, water, waste, biodiversity, […]

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destination management

What Does Destination Management Mean and Look Like in Practice?

Destination management is the process in which Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) work with stakeholders to increase development of the tourism sector, gain more tourists, address challenges, and bring more benefit to the local community. In the case of Solimar, this is also done while ensuring that this development is conducted sustainably, both from an economic […]

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Sustainable travel, how to be a sustainable traveler in 2023

What does it mean to be a sustainable traveler in 2023?

The term sustainable travel comes with many interpretations. It can encompass anything from staying in eco-friendly accommodations to taking one less flight.  But, navigating what this means as a traveler can be complicated. In the simplest terms, sustainable travel refers to efforts to engage in environmentally friendly behaviors that limit tourism’s negative impacts on natural […]

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Social media changed the tourism industry with sustainable tourism in Timor-Leste

How has Social Media Changed the Tourism Industry?

The tourism industry looked very different merely 10 years ago. At that time, widespread internet usage had already wildly changed the landscape of the industry, increasing customer autonomy from the days of travel agency appointments and packages. But the explosion of social media platforms between 2006 and 2010 connected individuals around the world like never […]

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Tunisia, destination that uses situation analysis

How to Conduct a Situation Analysis to Develop a Tourism Strategy?

What is A Situation Analysis? Traveling to a destination can feel like an individual journey.  But, did you know that most tourism destinations develop thoughtful strategies to ensure their destinations attract visitors in intentional and measured ways? A tourism strategy is designed to highlight a destination’s best aspects, such as food and history, while also […]

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What is a Destination Development Plan and why is it needed?

Tourism is truly a booming industry and affects many people around the world. Some destinations have flourished, but many have had to endure the negative aspects of tourism. Taking into account all of the global issues we face nowadays, such as climate change and pandemics, it is now more crucial than ever to assure a […]

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Shows overtourism at Trevi Fountain in Rome

What is Overtourism… and How Can We Prevent it?

Overtourism strikes back: Steps you can take to combat its return and become a more responsible traveler. After being deprived of travel experiences for a larger part of the last two years, travelers have been itching to start exploring new destinations, cultures, and cuisines. But as travel re-opens in our post-pandemic world, the threat of […]

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Community Capacity Building for Women In and Around the Sundarbans Reserve Forest of Bangladesh

The Sundarbans Reserve Forest, located in the south-west region of Bangladesh, is the world’s largest mangrove forest and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nearly three million people live in and around the Sundarbans. Generations of this population have become highly dependent upon the forest for its environmental protection and nature-based economic opportunities. Conservation of this […]

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solimar international internship world

Two Reflections from Interning at Solimar International

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 […]

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emerging destination

Emerging Destinations: Challenges of Developing Tourism

Tourism destinations go through various stages of development, and during each of them, managers face issues and challenges that need to be addressed to guarantee the ongoing success of the destination. In this blog, we’ll talk about emerging destinations, explain what an emerging destination is, and discuss a few of the development challenges they face […]

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greenwashing tourism industry

Travel Greenwashing: How to Spot it in the Tourism Industry

Travel greenwashing and the challenges of an environmentally conscious tourist: who to trust, how to spot authenticity, and more. From backpackers to luxury travelers, ​​the climate crisis affects us all. As travelers become increasingly aware of the issues impacting the Earth, they seek to reward and fiscally support businesses in the tourism industry with environmentally […]

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How to eat sustainably while traveling

How to Eat Sustainably While Traveling

Fall intern Megan O’Beirne has worked as a sustainability professional in the luxury hospitality industry, first in Laamu Atoll, Maldives and then in Cartagena, Colombia. Given her vast international experience and passion for the environment, she has adopted what she calls her “food philosophy” in regards to food on the road. Read on to find […]

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lewis and clark caverns in montana, beautiful mountains

The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail: Sustainable Domestic Tourism

The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail (LCNHT) commemorates the Corps of Discovery’s 1804-1806 expedition of the Louisiana Purchase. Led by Meriwether Lewis and Wiliam Clark, this epic journey contributed to significant changes to the land we now know as America. Ranging from political, social, economic, and cultural, these changes brought on by the Lewis […]

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Sustainable Tourism in Liberia: Rebuilding Post-Conflict, Post-Endemic Zones

Liberia is a beautifully unique country with a less than favorable reputation. Researching Liberia leads to some interesting finds. For example, the country’s two civil wars, the Ebola endemic, crime and COVID-19 appear, leading curious travelers to believe Liberia is not a bucket-list tourist destination. The effects on the Liberian economy have been disastrous, leaving […]

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What are the Different Types of Tourism?

As one of the most powerful industries in the world, tourism has a great potential to become a force for good when driving economic and social development. However, this can only be achieved by appropriate planning – and with so many different types of tourism, it can sometimes be hard to accomplish. This article is […]

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Tourism Development Internship: Get to Know Solimar’s Fall 2022 Interns

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 […]

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DMOs destination management planning across many maps

Why DMOs must be about Management, not just Marketing

DMOs are crucial organizations within the tourism industry. They were primarily established to promote destinations. However, with the rapid growth of tourism, the need for its sustainability and management of the sector eventually emerged. Therefore, whether DMOs should focus only on marketing or broaden their activities and be a management organization is part of the […]

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Regenerative travel allows you to ethically view some of these stunning sites

Why Regenerative Tourism is the Industry’s Future

When not managed or appropriately planned, tourism can be a very extractive process that comes at the expense of local people and their homes. Often, multinational tourism companies capitalize on popular destinations to the detriment of residents. These destinations are “mined” for labor, culture, land use, and natural features. Extractive tourism, a term coined by […]

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What Field Research with Solimar Looks Like

Insights from Our First Student Researcher in Bangladesh The efficacy of our projects – many of which are based in widely unexplored destinations – relies upon the innovative findings of the research community. That is why Solimar is committed to supporting prospective researchers every step of the way. Through our Student Research Placement Program, we […]

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virtual tourism internship cohort members working remotely in a coworking space

Why do a Virtual Tourism Internship at Solimar International?

Solimar International is a sustainable tourism consulting and marketing firm that works in emerging destinations to stimulate economic growth and conserve natural resources and cultural heritage. Each spring, summer, and fall, we welcome a cohort of new interns to our team to embark on a 12-week learning program! Our interns join us from a variety […]

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tourism planning trends

7 New Trends in Tourism Planning You Must Know

What is Tourism Planning?  Tourism planning consists of creating strategies to develop tourism in a specific destination. Knowing and understanding current trends allows those in the industry to tailor their operations to meet demand. It is crucial for DMOs and tourism businesses to stay up-to-date.   Origin and development of tourism planning Tourism planning was born from […]

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diver visiting for tourism participates in the blue economy

How Does Tourism Impact the Blue Economy?

Tourism can positively impact the blue economy when properly planned, developed and managed. When this happens, nature heals, marine life returns, local communities are engaged and empowered, and culture thrives. In this piece, we explore the concept of the blue economy and the impact of sustainable and unsustainable tourism on blue growth. What is the […]

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climate change action posters

Climate Change and Tourism: How Destinations Are Responding to the Climate Crisis (Part 1)

Climate change is slowly becoming the subject of dinner table conversations in tourism destinations around the world – both for those who live in these destinations, and for those who visit them. Rising global temperatures and increasingly erratic weather patterns are making tourism offerings, especially those that involve the outdoors, highly unpredictable. From increased coral […]

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community based tourism experience in tanzania

What is Community-Based Tourism and Why Does it Matter?

Community-based tourism is one of the most significant parts of the tourism industry and key to destination sustainability. Despite their importance, communities are often neglected in tourism. Many tourism destinations overlook local peoples, or at best use them as gimmicks and labor for foreign visitors. Instead, tourism should serve as a tool to improve destination […]

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tourism for conservation

Can Tourism Support Conservation?

A question we always get in our line of work is can tourism really support conservation efforts? Yes, conservation and tourism are interconnected in many ways! Tourism involves visiting places of interest, and conservation involves protecting places of interest. Tourists can combine the two by visiting and supporting areas that actively practice conservation. In some […]

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a lodge that utilizes nature based solutions

Nature-Based Solutions: The Key to Regenerative Tourism

Solimar International’s Director of Conservation & Community Development, Chloe King, has published her White Paper: Climate Action through Regeneration: Unlocking the Power of Communities and Nature through Tourism. Chloe worked alongside Senior Sustainability Consultant, O’Shannon Burns and organizations Regenerative Travel and The Long Run on a year-long research project that sought to determine how tourism […]

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travel writing internship

Meet Our Summer 2022 Sustainable Tourism and Travel Writing Internship Cohort

Solimar International is proud to introduce our Summer 2022 Virtual Travel Writing and Sustainable Tourism Internship Cohort! This semester’s cohort features 18 talented individuals with a shared passion for sustainable development and tourism. As you’ll read, each intern possesses unique backgrounds and experiences that will be incredibly impactful to our work. By providing these interns […]

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Winery Yakima Valley

Why Yakima Valley Should be at the Top of Your Summer Bucket List

Tourism can be a transformative experience, both for destinations and the travelers who visit. While famous bucket list destinations are always fun to visit, under-the-radar destinations offer travelers the unique opportunity to see the authentic heart and soul of a place that can’t be found anywhere else (and hey, it doesn’t hurt to avoid the […]

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smoky mountains hikers exploring the region

Sustainable Domestic Tourism: Visit the Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, colloquially called the Smokies, is far more than protected national lands to locals and visitors. Before its establishment as a national park in 1934, the Smokies were home to hundreds of local farmers and paper manufacturers. The ethos of these self-sustaining locals prevailed long after the establishment of the park […]

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stunning ocean and shades of blue of capurgana, colombia

Visiting Capurganá, Colombia – Nature Based Tourism

Partaking in nature based tourism while visiting Capurganá, Colombia is a tool to drive economic success, protect biodiversity, and build a strong social impact. Colombia is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. This provides a tremendous opportunity to improve its competitive edge for nature based tourism both internationally and domestically. In fact, […]

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destination branding two kayak sunsetters

How to Brand Your Destination: a Complete Guide

Want to learn how to successfully make your destination stand out from the competition? This article tells you all about destination branding and how to build your own original brand! How to Build a Successful Destination Brand The tourism industry is one of the most universally robust industries in the world. Hundreds of thousands of […]

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digital marketing displayed in times square

What is the Value of Digital Destination Marketing?

The digital era is synonymous with a time of constant change. Innovations are transforming industries at incredible speed. The travel and tourism industry is no exception. Technology is driving the way in which travellers are searching, accessing and consuming travel content. But how much has the industry changed? Find out below!  According to Wex’s US […]

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tajine morocco support local artisans

Sustainable Tourism in Southern Morocco

South of the Moroccan tourism hub of Marrakesh is the jewel of Southern Morocco, Agadir. Encompassing Agadir and various other small towns, southern Morocco is largely underdeveloped with untapped potential. Morocco has been well-known by French tourists for a long time given its former status as a French colony. What is lesser known is that […]

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earth day tourism

Earth Day 2022: Celebrate with Solimar Projects

Celebrate Earth Day… Everyday! For most people, Earth Day is just another normal day. We might celebrate by posting an aesthetic earth infographic on our Instagram stories or remembering to drop our disposable water bottle in the recycling bin. Our earth does so much for the people of this planet every single day, providing all […]

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an ocean front tent where visitors can enjoy a covid free travel

COVID and Tourism: How have things changed?

Two years since COVID-19 began, how has the tourism industry changed? People love to travel, and in the modern world it has never been easier. While the COVID-19 pandemic brought our expanding globalized world to a screeching halt, it has become clear during the past two years that the international tourism industry is not going […]

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livingstone aerial shot with river

Montana Sustainable Tourism – the Case Study of Livingston, Montana

What exactly is Sustainable Tourism, and why should I care? According to the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, sustainable tourism is the practice of acknowledging the impacts of tourism, both good and bad, to minimize environmental and economic damage while spurring job creation along with cultural and wildlife preservation. Here at Solimar International, we help destinations […]

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Rhinos on world wildlife day

Celebrating World Wildlife Day 2022

During its 68th session in 2013, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared March 3rd World Wildlife Day. To emphasize the importance of the protection of the World’s wild animal species and plants. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was founded on March 3rd, 1973. CITES works […]

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Tourist in sunglasses sits on a boat in Thailand surrounded by trees and nature

How Can Tourism Be Regenerative?

Last year, Solimar International’s Director of Conservation & Community Development, Chloe King, conducted a first-of-its-kind study of 30 tourism operators around the world. These tourism businesses—ranging from Destination Management Organizations to community-based homestay networks to high-end eco-lodges—were assessed via in-depth interviews and surveys to understand how centering nature within their business models enabled them to […]

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france agritourism

French Agritourism: 7 Reasons to try France’s Version of Sustainable Tourism

While Solimar is typically supporting more under-the-radar destinations like Guyana or Liberia, this does not mean that already successful tourist destinations are not worthy of interest. Each year, France receives millions of travelers, making it the most visited country in the world. As a result, France might not seem like the perfect sustainable destination. However, through […]

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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 […]

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Photo courtesy of Zane Hartog, a peace corps armenia volunteer. Hiking in Lori Marz, Armenia

Armenia Sustainable Tourism: a Community-Based Tourism Case Study

As most expert travelers know, it is difficult to find an immersive, cultural experience in regions away from large population centers. In the Lori region of Northern Armenia, the NGO Center has created the Tourism Unique Center, known as TUC (ՏՈւԿ), which allows tourists to learn and play while benefiting the local village community in […]

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Solimar International Internship where are they now?

Solimar’s Sustainable Tourism Internship – Where are Former Interns Now?

Former Solimar International Sustainable Tourism Internship Stories Solimar International is a marketing firm that specializes in sustainable tourism. Three times a year, we recruit talented interns to our sustainable tourism internship to help with strategic planning, sustainability research, blog writing & communications, social media marketing, tourism development, and so much more on all of our […]

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A beautiful sunset in Wakatobi, Indonesia

Developing a Tourism Management Plan – A case study from Sulawesi, Indonesia

Developing a tourism management plan is challenging for any destination management organization. Working for a destination management organization across multiple islands is even more! Since each island is different, each one is prioritizing different things. Between plastic trash pollution, climate change, access to clean water, and food security, there are many problems that are on […]

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

Solimar International Committed to a Decade of Tourism Climate Action

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 […]

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visit Souther Tanzania, Africa's best travel secrets Solimar International

Southern Tanzania is one of Africa’s Best Travel Secrets

Less than 1% of travelers to Tanzania venture to the country’s south… find out why skipping a visit to Southern Tanzania is a huge mistake Despite its bountiful national parks, game reserves, and beautiful beaches, few visit Soutthern Tanzania. It is the least traveled part of Tanzania, but has so many hidden gems just waiting […]

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Zitna beach, Croatia. Destinations are storyscapes, Jonathan Atari photography

Storytelling and Digital Destination Marketing – Why is it Important and What to Consider

Travel storytelling must be at the heart of any digital destination marketing strategy.  Every destination has an infinite amount of stories that can be utilized for celebrating its uniqueness, and fostering emotional relationships with potential and past visitors. This translates to a rise in visibility, consumer-brand trust, visitation, and eventually – profit. This blog post […]

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Meet Solimar International's Fall 2021 sustainable tourism and destination marketing interns graphic

Solimar’s Fall 2021 Sustainable Tourism Interns

Meet the future of the Sustainable Tourism Industry Solimar currently has a record number of projects – 22 – spanning the world from Armenia to Guyana to Timor-Leste. Three times per year, we run a virtual internship program, connecting with talented young professionals with a passion for sustainable tourism, conservation, and international development. This program […]

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Tatras Mountains Polad - Sustainable tourism poland

Efforts to Boost Sustainable Tourism in Poland

Red, White, and New: Efforts to Boost Sustainable Tourism in Poland Here at Solimar International, we work to increase and promote sustainable and regenerative tourism around the world. We know that every country has its own unique challenges in implementing effective sustainable tourism. Poland has had difficulties creating and maintaining long-term plans for prioritizing eco-friendly […]

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How Tourism can make Communities More Climate Resilient icebergs are at risk of melting

How Tourism can make Communities More Climate Resilient

Climate change is not a future projection anymore. It belongs to the present, and tourism can be part of the solution. Learn about how tourism can make communities more climate resilient. Rising sea levels, floods, biodiversity loss, tropical storms, and droughts are extreme weather events the world is experiencing nearly every day. Earth’s climate is […]

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Stakeholder engagement following leader

Stakeholder Engagement in Destination Planning

The support, cooperation, and commitment of stakeholders is essential to ensure long-term, successful sustainable development of the dynamic and highly complex tourism industry. Tourism is one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors in the world, comprised of an intricate network of stakeholders with an interest in the development, marketing, and management of tourism destinations. Other […]

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tourism and trail development hikers in mountains

The Value of Tourism in Trail Development

Adding 400 miles to greater Washington D.C.’s existing 479 miles of trails could create more than 16,000 jobs and generate more than $1 billion in annual revenue. What is Trail Development? A recent report by the Capital Trails Coalition on the Economic, Health, and Environmental Benefits of Completing the Capital Trails Network, pointed out that […]

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slovenia sustainable tourism: view of lake bled

7 Reasons Why Slovenia is one of the Leading Sustainable Tourism Destinations

Learn about sustainable tourism in Slovenia, Europe’s hidden gem Here at Solimar, we pride ourselves on being experts in sustainable tourism. We’ve consulted with destinations on their tourism strategies all across the world, from distant Nepal to Timor-Leste to local West Virginia.  So, when we say that a country has excelled at integrating sustainable tourism […]

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trophy given to a successful destination

Destination Success – the Factors and Actors

Destination success is often synonymized with its popularity and high visitor numbers. Places like Paris, New York, Rome, and Bangkok are destinations that rush to mind… but are they convincing examples of destination success? What really defines a destination’s success, and who is responsible for it?  Tourism is a dynamic and highly complex sector that […]

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World Tourism Day 2021: Tourism for Inclusive Growth

World Tourism Day is here! Communities in destinations around the world are finding ways to celebrate both virtually and in person. The 2021 theme chosen by the World Tourism Organization is “Tourism for Inclusive Growth”. In this blog post, We’ll explore the origins of World Tourism Day, and the goals being set for the future. […]

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Wildlife Conservation & Tourism Best Practices

Did you know that August 12th was World Elephant Day? An entire day has been dedicated to the Earth’s largest land mammals to celebrate them and advocate for continued wildlife conservation. Why focus on elephants for wildlife conservation? Elephants have a unique story regarding wildlife conservation and the countless adversities they have faced. They provide […]

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Destination Branding: Top Tips to Attract Travelers

Destination branding – more than just a logo What exactly is destination branding? To start things off, it is important to first understand what a brand is: what is the purpose of destination branding, and how it is different from destination marketing? A brand is more than just a logo, a color scheme, and a […]

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tips to be an ethical traveler from a traveler in bosnia

Fall Travel Season: 10 Tips to be an Ethical Traveler

As more destinations continue to open up for tourism, it is time to redefine ethical travel After a long, chaotic year and a half of uncertainty, travelers have started to go on vacations and plan trips to get out of their home offices and enjoy something new. With domestic tourism numbers expected to reach record […]

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My Switzerland website

Tourism’s Top 10 Most Unique Destination Websites

Understanding what makes a travel destination website successful is crucial for anyone interested in reaching more potential travelers online. Sparking travel inspiration is a tough task, so we have compiled a list of the top 10 destination websites that inspire us and motivate us to imagine creative ways to entice travel plans. Check out these high […]

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Tourism Improvement District – A Funding Model Case Study

A Tourism Improvement District (TID) is a revolutionary way to fund destination marketing programs. They are typically run by local businesses that collaborate and invest collectively to support the growth and development of their destination’s tourism industry. Depending on where you are in the world, the concept of a Tourism Improvement District has several different […]

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How Tourism Can Protect Cultural Heritage

At Solimar, we value tourism for the economic and social development that it brings to communities all over the world. Protecting cultural heritage is one of our utmost priorities as well as a core development objective in all of our projects. When done right, building a strong tourism economy is a great way for local […]

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successful social media tourism marketing campaign

Building a Successful Social Media Tourism Marketing Campaign

Social media plays a massive role in traveler decision. Learn what makes a successful social media marketing campaign Emerging approximately 15 years ago, social media platforms have dramatically changed communication and marketing – including the way we both plan and share our travel experiences. Instead of sending a postcard, travelers now share pictures and photos […]

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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 […]

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pamplona festival world population

Tourism’s Role in World Population Day, Celebrated on July 11th

Co-author: Kuanlin Lu On World Population Day this year, the tourism industry has taken note that while some parts of the world appear to be recovering from the COVID-19, others are still very much entrenched in the fight against the pandemic. As the COVID-19 virus has (as of June 2021) infected 179 million people globally […]

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fourth of july jazz music to explore

American Independence Day Destinations – a US Road Trip Reflection

What places fully embody the American essence? A Solimar team discovers top American Independence Day Destinations on a road trip Nearly one year ago, inspired by Solimar’s ongoing Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail project, I set out with my friend Nick on a “great American road trip” to explore and rediscover our country.  With […]

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The Value of DMOs to Destinations

DMOs play a large role in contributing to a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable approach to tourism and destination development A Destination Management Organization (DMO) is a non-profit organization that promotes a destination for tourism purposes. DMOs can vary in their official names (visitors bureau, tourist boards, organization of tourism, chambers of commerce) and geographic […]

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Universities with tourism programs in Bosnia & Herzegovina Webinar

Solimar Introduces UNWTO TedQual Certification to Universities with Tourism Programs in Bosnia & Herzegovina

The USAID/Developing Sustainable Tourism in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Turizam), in partnership with Solimar International and UNWTO Academy, organized a joint webinar entitled ‘Introduction to UNWTO TedQual for universities with tourism programs in Bosnia & Herzegovina Webinar’. The virtual event was held on June 30th, 2021, providing expert insight on collaboration for enhancement of BIH’s competitive […]

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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 […]

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Destination development planning

Tourism Destination Planning: How, When, and Who

The concept of tourism traces back more than 4,000 years when early civilizations across the world began travelling for commerce and religious purposes. While some say modern day tourism finds its roots in the 17th century, when traveling around Europe became a popular pastime among aristocrats, the industry saw its most monumental growth during the […]

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Illustrate Visitor Service Sign

What Visitor Services Should a DMO Provide?

Providing visitor services is an essential function of every Destination Management Organization (DMO) Destination Management Organizations (DMO) are responsible for the management and marketing of a tourism destination to attract visitors and to offer them a good experience during their stay. One of the key functions of DMOs is the provision of visitor services, before […]

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Domestic Travel in a COVID travel world

COVID-19 Recovery: Trends in Tourism

The tourism industry has shifted as a result of the pandemic The summer of 2020 gave everyone hope of a quick recovery for the tourism industry, as COVID-19 cases seemed to drop across the globe and countries dependent on tourism eagerly opened their borders to travelers again. As many experts predicted, cases began to rise […]

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World Ocean’s Day – The Value of the Blue Economy

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 […]

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Tourism supports World Environmental Day

We Only Have One Earth: World Environment Day 2021

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. […]

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Combating the Seasonality of Travel Using the Geotourism Methodology

The white-sandy beaches of Mexico during the cold weather months of November through March. European cities in the Northern Hemisphere summer months of June, July and August.  Patagonia in the Southern Hemisphere summer. Ski resorts in their local winter (and more recently, in the summer as well). The seasonality of travel leaves destinations around the […]

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Celebrating Women In Tourism

International Women’s Day deserves to be celebrated every day, especially in an industry that is comprised predominately by females. Inside the travel sector, women make up the majority of the workforce and earn almost 15% less. Solimar International knows first-hand how critical women are in pushing travel to new heights. The women in our organization […]

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Community-Based Tourism: Lessons from Timor-Leste

With a global pause in the industry over the past year, Solimar revisied many of our former community-based tourism projects to compile lessons learned from our own work across the globe, in projects both past and present. The emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing climate change crisis has prompted tourist destinations around the […]

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Is Regenerative Travel a New Era In Tourism?

Understand the industry’s newest buzz word with examples of how tourism can improve upon the places we love to visit Follow Solimar International on Facebook and Twitter to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in travel and tourism For nearly a year, the travel and tourism industry has been grappling with the fallout from Covid-19. With the pandemic […]

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Regenerative travel in Guatemala

Part 2: Is Regenerative Travel a New Era In Tourism?

This is part two of Solimar’s blog series highlighting well-known and lesser-known destinations around the world that are practicing regenerative tourism. Click here to read part 1.  The concept of “regenerative” travel has emerged as way for the tourism industry to reimagine its role in the communities and ecosystems upon which it depends. The term […]

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Solimar International Declares a Climate Emergency

Alongside over 150 tourism-industry organizations based in dozens of countries, Solimar will work to find regenerative travel solutions to the climate change crisis.   Solimar International has joined its colleagues in signing up to Tourism Declares, an initiative that supports tourism businesses, organizations, and individuals in declaring a climate emergency and working to reduce the carbon […]

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Welcoming Solimar International’s Spring 2021 Intern Cohort

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies around the world to reevaluate their structure and ramp up their virtual skillsets and knowhow. As a result, Solimar International has used these newfound techniques to build out its Virtual Sustainable Tourism Internship Program and create a fully remote program where aspiring sustainable tourism practitioners from all over the […]

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Reporting: A Door for Telling Stories and Trying New Things

A DMO and its initiatives are only as successful as the reporting the succeeds it After 16 weeks, Solimar has completed its first virtual DMOs Development Course which worked with representatives from six unique and growing DMOs in the Republic of Georgia. With the expert knowledge of Solimar’s CEO Chris Seek and several other experts […]

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Visitor Voluntary Contribution Fee

The Voluntary Visitor Contribution: A Small Fee with Big Potential

How can visitors voluntarily contribute to your destination and not individual businesses? Will asking for that voluntary fee discourage your guests from returning? These were questions asked and answered as part of Solimar’s Virtual DMO Development learning session on voluntary visitor contribution fees. In previous learning sessions, tourism leaders learned about the variety of methods […]

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Storytelling and The Art of Tourism Marketing

Think of the last time you felt captivated by or drawn to a destination or an experience. What pulled you in and rooted your desire to go? What pushed you to search for more information, find a way to get there, or book a place to stay? Was it the name of a place? Was […]

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Solimar’s 2020 Fall Internship Cohort Brings a Wide Range of Tourism Sustainability Experience

Solimar International welcomed its largest group of interns to its sustainable tourism team earlier this month. This diverse group of future travel leaders comes to Solimar from across the United States and will be instrumental in further developing current projects (Southern Tanzania Marketing Plan, The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Experience & Georgia/Armenia DMO […]

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Solimar Assists Caucasus School of Tourism achieve TedQual International Accreditation

Through Solimar’s work with the USAID Economic Security Program, we recently provided assistance to Caucasus University in obtaining TedQual International Accreditation by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). This distinguished designation for excellence in tourism education was awarded on September 17th, 2020 for the Bachelor’s Degree program in the School of Tourism at Caucasus […]

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Developing Membership Plans for DMOs

Destination Management Organizations are often funded by a combination of sources–including lodging taxes and membership dues. As a result of COVID-19, tax collections have decreased in destinations around the world. Now, membership plans are as important as ever for the economic sustainability of DMOs. There’s plenty of room to develop relationships between DMOs and local businesses […]

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DMO Website Development: Sedona Verde Valley

Developing a Website for a DMO

As the Internet grows in popularity and usage around the world, so has its impact on destination marketing and on tourism as an industry. The web has changed how tourists search for information about destinations and plan trips and has paved the way for the business development of online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Expedia, […]

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Tourism Information and Content Strategy

Content is at the heart of any marketing strategy. Content informs the target audience about a subject and it is the engagement piece that lures them to action. Without content there is no message. This week’s DMO Development Program session discussed Tourism Information Systems and the digital strategies for managing the content inside a tourism […]

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Tourism Marketing 101: The Importance of a Destination Branding Strategy

Branding a tourism destination requires a long-term strategy integrated into numerous different channels. It is more than just logos, taglines, commercials, billboards and social media posts. A destination’s brand is defined by a perception of its guests. It is an emotion that visitors feel, brought on by experiences created by stakeholders. Successfully implementing a branding strategy must […]

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Tourism Information Center

Visitor Services: Providing Online and Offline Customer Service

Visitor services centers, or welcome centers, are designed to provide information and aid to any current or potential tourists within a destination and its surrounding areas. The center acts as the main point of contact for tourists’ travel planning inquiries, as well as a place where local businesses and travel agencies can go to promote […]

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Solimar’s Takeaways from Destination International’s 2020 Convention

As with so many events in the past few months and surely the foreseeable future, the Destinations International 2020 Convention turned virtual this year to accommodate for the health and safety of attendees. Despite the physical distance, those attending could still sit in on the main sessions, break apart into the smaller discussion-based and timely […]

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Utilizing the Geotourism Methodology to Identify & Develop Asset Inventories

Solimar has written numerous tourism strategies over the last decade centered around Geotourism, which can be defined as “Tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place — its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of its residents.” This methodology is hugely beneficial in identifying and developing asset inventories for a destination’s […]

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How to Road Trip Safely During COVID-19

I was feeling just as restless as every other 2020 graduate when I decided to drive my car West, eager to engage with a country I had always called my own but never seen. In order to pull off such an excursion, driving over 1,500 miles from my hometown in Memphis, Tennessee to Zion National […]

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The USAID Economic Security Program, Caucasus School of Tourism Unite to Bolster Georgia’s Tourism Competitiveness

On June 25, 2020, the Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the USAID Economic Security Program and Caucasus University. The Memorandum was signed by the President of Caucasus University Dr. Kakha Shengelia and the head of the USAID Economic Security Program, Mr. Mark McCord. The USAID Economic Security Program and its contractor Solimar International will […]

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Reimagining Resources: Solimar’s Response to Short Term Technical Assistance in a COVID-19 Era

Following a trip to Georgia in January to support the USAID Economic Security Program, Solimar International CEO Chris Seek prepared to embark on a journey to support the strengthening of several new Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) across the country. This initial trip revealed a key challenge: fragmented collaboration among tourism stakeholders necessitated the development of a […]

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Reimagining Recovery: DMO Response Strategies to COVID-19 

In January of this year, many destination management organizations (DMOs) might have expressed similar grievances when considering the current state of tourism: overcrowding, mass tourism, and unchecked growth threatening to overwhelm the natural and cultural heritage of a place. With the travel industry enjoying nearly a decade of unfettered growth, most DMOs were learning how […]

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The Evolution of DMOs: From Marketing to Management

DMOs have been a part of your travel life, whether you recognize it or not. Those commercials and advertisements you see suggesting you visit a certain state or country? DMOs are behind those… The bed/lodger tax attached to the end of your hotel bill that you’ve undoubtedly questioned at one time or another? DMOs once […]

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Why is a DMO Important to a Destination?

UNWTO defines a destination management organization as the leading organizational entity which facilitates partnerships with various authorities, stakeholders, and professionals to achieve a unified mission towards a destination’s vision. Destination management is a broad and holistic management process that includes managing marketing, local accommodations, tours, events, activities, attractions, transportation and more. In terms of both […]

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What Defines a Destination

What Defines a Destination?

Destinations and the journeys that accompany them are continually adapting and diversifying for the coming trends in travel. Destination management has become increasingly important as tourism leaders coordinate the management of all elements that make up a destination, including the attractions, amenities, access, marketing, and pricing. But what actually defines a particular place from a tourism perspective? […]

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Introducing our Summer 2020 Tourism Internship Cohort

Solimar International is excited to introduce our Summer 2020 tourism intern cohort and future leaders of sustainable tourism development. Representing a mix of university students and recent graduates all pursuing a career in sustainable tourism, this group brings a plethora of global travel experience and will play an important role in supporting Solimar’s projects, research […]

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How to Conduct Supply Side Tourism Research Online

Conducting supply side research is an essential prerequisite to creating a strategic plan as the supply of tourism assets translates to its economic growth potential and shapes recommendations for the future of the industry. To create products such as long-term strategies, visions, and action plans, Solimar must first understand how tourism is currently developed in […]

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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 […]

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How Tourism Leaders Should Respond to the Impacts of COVID-19

As we all do our part to help flatten the curve in the weeks and months ahead, the tourism and hospitality industries will face unprecedented challenges. It is now very clear that the only way to stop the spread of this virus is for us to stay at home and practice physical distancing.  This means […]

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Sustainable Development through Tourism Concessions

Sustainability in business has become a major priority in the global objective to better care for our planet. With tourism being one of the largest industries, it must play a major role in emphasizing this need. Done sustainably, tourism can provide economic growth for communities and businesses while also creating support for the conservation of […]

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National Tourism Strategy Examples

How to Develop an Effective Tourism Strategy for your Destination

“Why do we need another plan?”  We hear this question a lot at Solimar when asked to help a tourism destination develop a national, regional, or destination specific sustainable tourism strategy. We know that most of the destinations we work with have a cabinet full of previous studies and plans that were developed but never […]

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Solimar News, Project Updates, and a New Website

It is shaping up to be a busy and productive year at Solimar. We wanted to take a moment to share a few updates with you on our current projects and officially announce the launch of our new website to showcase the latest information on our tourism development and marketing services. In addition to our project work […]

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Solimar Rolls out New Website for Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail

  Since 2016, Solimar has been working with the National Park Service to develop and implement a tourism strategy for the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. The Trail, which currently extends from St. Louis to Cannon Beach, Washington, traces the route that Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery followed during their 1804-1806 expedition […]

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SEE Turtles wins Tourism for Tomorrow Changemakers Award

Solimar is delighted to congratulate SEE Turtles for their recent winning of the World Travel & Tourism Council’s Changemakers Award at the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards ceremony. The Awards, now in their 15th year, took place at a special ceremony during the WTTC Global Summit in Seville, Spain, to celebrate inspirational, world-changing tourism initiatives from around the globe. […]

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World Heritage Journeys of Europe Website nominated for Webby Award

The World Heritage Journeys of Europe Website was recently nominated for a Webby Award, recognizing the travel site for its excellence by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a judging body composed of over two thousand industry experts and technology innovators. Developed through our program with UNESCO and National Geographic, this innovative website is the first […]

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Visitor Centers We Love

When working in destination marketing, it’s easy to get caught up in the initial phases and to focus your attention and energy upon attracting visitors to your destination. But what happens once the visitors arrive? Your visitors need a physical place to begin their trip, to get comfortable with the location, and to plan their […]

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Your Road Map to a Great Tourism Business Plan

Any great tourism business begins with a great “road map.” This road map serves as your business plan with actionable steps for moving forward with developing the enterprise. There are seven key components to your road map. 1. Clear Concept- Before you can dive into the road map, the essential first step is to clearly […]

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The Basics of Integrated Marketing Programs

Solimar has been talking a lot about our work with integrated marketing programs recently, so you might be wondering, what exactly is an integrated marketing program? And why is it important? Simply put, an integrated marketing program in the travel trade is a comprehensive marketing solution specifically designed to ensure that all messaging and communications […]

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Best Practices in Integrating Sustainability in Tourism Management and Operations

The importance of sustainable tourism development is increasingly recognized throughout the sector. However, it has been a challenge for many organizations to integrate sustainability into tourism management and operations. Here are a few tips and examples on how to incorporate sustainability in your destination’s tourism management and operations. Involve Local Residents and Communities in Tourism […]

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The Importance of Measuring Tourism Impacts

Measuring tourism impacts is often perceived as a tedious and complicated task by some tourism professionals. Since tourism is integrated across numerous sectors, there are many aspects to consider when analyzing the results of tourism development. At the broadest level, tourism affects the economy through employment and investment. It also impacts the environment as many […]

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How Sustainable Tourism Development Protects the Wilderness

Sustainable tourism, when done well, celebrates cultures, alleviates poverty, empowers women, enhances education, creates jobs, improves the wellbeing of local communities, and conserves natural resources. This is a cornerstone of Solimar International’s work.  Understanding these transformative effects is mostly intuitive. For example, sustainable tourism development often showcases local culture and employs local people in doing […]

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Environmental Indicators in Measuring Tourism Impacts

The task of measuring tourism impacts is often conducted by identifying certain economic indicators, such as the contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or the overall employment, and measuring their base before tourism, after a tourism project begins, and monitoring them as the project progresses. With sustainable tourism development, we aim to manage the […]

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Why Do We Need Public–Private Partnerships in Sustainable Tourism?

What is a Public Private Partnership and Why Is It Important? In sustainable tourism development projects, there are inherently multiple goals in which an array of parties maintains interest. From tour operators to local governments and communities, these stakeholders all have expected outcomes for tourism development. In order to properly represent these interests and create […]

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Tourism Services Training for Sustainable Tourism Development

In sustainable tourism development, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council maintains that an enterprise is considered sustainable if it impacts the local economy by employing capable local people. Sustainable enterprise development requires tourism services training in order to equip staff with the capacity to manage and operate the enterprises and organizations. The challenge in developing countries, […]

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Christmas Where We Work

With the holidays coming up, we decided to look at traditional Christmas celebrations in some of the places where we work! Colombia Christmas in Colombia is largely structured around the Catholic calendar. The Christmas season starts on December 7th, with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, widely known as “El Dia de las Velitas” or […]

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Four Ways to Become the Hottest Destination of 2025

With the tourism industry booming, competition amongst destinations is fierce. Hundreds of variables and thousands of runners in this race means that by 2025, anything could happen. But the good news is that with the right preparation today, any underdog has a shot at being the winning destination. Here are some tips to help you […]

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Amplify Your Roar: Leverage Social Media to Market Your Destination

In this generation, social media is more important than ever, especially for tourism marketing. People are spending over four times more time on Facebook than Google – today there are about 1.3 billion people on Facebook. Is Facebook really useful for businesses? Let this number convince you – 52% of businesses have acquired customers through […]

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How to Select a Destination Marketing Representative

It’s getting easier to communicate with travelers around the world, but destinations looking to target specific markets often turn to destination marketing representation firms. A destination marketing representative (or “rep”) is your destination’s tourism ambassador within a certain region who can effectively reach local consumers, outbound operators, and local media – all in an effort […]

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8 Tips for Organizing a Fam-Trip for North American Tour Operators

Fam-Trips (short for Familiarization Trips) are integral and familiar strategies to anyone involved in the tourism industry. The concept is simple: Members of the travel trade are invited on a free trip to become familiar with a destination and to meet potential inbound partners with the goal being that they’ll add it to their portfolios. […]

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Solimar’s Six Models that Link Tourism to Conservation, Part I

Solimar’s Six Models that Link Tourism to Conservation, Part I One of the ways that tourism benefits destinations is by augmenting conservation efforts. After conducting an analysis of both internal and partner projects, Solimar has identified six principal sustainable tourism models that link tourism to conservation: 1. Improve Tourism Operations and Guidelines: This model emphasizes […]

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Solimar’s Six Models to Link Tourism to Conservation, Part II

If developed and managed properly, a sustainable tourism strategy can aid conservation efforts. A destination’s natural environment,often the catalyst for tourism development in the first place, must be preserved to sustain tourism in the long run. Part I of this article discussed the first three of Solimar’s six models that link tourism to conservation: Improve […]

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The Solimar Team Shares Their Favorite Cultural Tourism Moments

A destination’s culture is manifested in its art, local traditions, colorful landscapes, and the diversity of the human intellect. Its most unique and alluring elements are derived from culture- and perhaps this is why the demand for cultural tourism in increasing. Now, more than ever, it is vital for tourism industry leaders to preserve the […]

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Solimar to Assist Timor-Leste through new USAID Program

Solimar is proud to announce that we have won a bid from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to develop sustainable tourism in the island nation of Timor-Leste. The project titled “Turizma ba Ema Hotu”, translated to “Tourism for All”, will be implemented by Chemonics International in partnership with Solimar International and Planet […]

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Life as a Solimar Intern in Armenia

Photo by Hayk Melkonyan, My Armenia Last week, the My Armenia program kicked off a seven week-long tour guide training in the three regions of Armenia where we are currently working; Syunik, Lori, and Vayots Dzor. Each week, current and potential tour guides of each region will get training on different topics, starting off with […]

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Destination Videos Matter: a Selection of Solimar’s Favorites

Videos are increasingly becoming important to travel marketing. Effective and catchy videos, especially those that go viral, can increase brand recognition. An example is Turkish Airlines’ classic viral video, ‘The Selfie Shootout’ between Kobe Bryant and Lionel Messi. Released in the first week of December last year, it is said to be the most viral […]

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A New and Improved SAVE Travel Alliance Website is Live!

Solimar and the SAVE Travel Alliance are thrilled to have recently launched the new and improved SAVE Travel Alliance Website. We have partnered with the SAVE Travel Alliance team to create a fresh, updated, and comprehensive website dedicated to linking travelers from all walks of life to amazing experiences at our seven global destinations: Jamaica, Nicaragua, […]

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Solimar Launches Tourism Development Project in Sri Lanka

Originally Posted: January 21, 2016  Solimar International is starting off the New Year right – we’re proud to have just launched a new project in Sri Lanka on January 4th of this year! This project is called Entrepreneurship and New Product Development in the Tourism Sector of the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka. […]

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Pacaya Lodge & Spa Celebrates Successful Soft Opening

In January, Pacaya Lodge & Spa celebrated a soft opening with a New Year’s party for staff and guests.  The resort, located 20 minutes from Granada, Nicaragua, overlooks the iconic Laguna de Apoyo and offers stunning views over the canopy to the crater lake below and Granada in the distance. The 26-room luxury resort features […]

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Solimar’s Project Highlights of 2015!

2015 was an exciting year for Solimar International! The past twelve months have taken us around the globe–from tourism strategizing in Tanzania, marketing the Great Himalayan Trail in Nepal, training Ethiopian officials, to launching a new ecolodge in Nicaragua. Check out our recap of some of the amazing projects that kept us busy this past […]

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New Year’s Celebrations Around The World

Working in the tourism industry has opened our eyes to the overall diversity of times, customs, and traditions that are associated with welcoming the New Year around the world. For many in the United States, New Year’s Eve will be celebrated with friends and family over a bottle or two of bubbly, Chinese food, and […]

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Innovating at the Travel + Social Good Summit

On Friday, October 24th, innovators from the travel, tech and impact worlds convened in New York City for the Travel + Social Good summit. The event, organized by Gilad Goren of Only Six Degrees and sponsored by industry heavyweights, begged the question: how do we guide our industries to adopt meaningful social good into our […]

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Characteristics of a Successful Online Marketing Campaign

Being flexible and current are two important characteristics to a successful online marketing campaign. The social media landscape is constantly evolving—whether it is the changing of an algorithm, a new feature, new trend, or even the inception of an entirely new social media platform. To run a successful online marketing campaign you must be knowledgeable […]

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From Three Hours to Three Days in Bethlehem (The Original One)

When I first told people that I was heading to Bethlehem to help develop a strategic plan to grow visitation from roughly half a day to multi-day visits, most people thought I was talking about Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It was, in fact, the original Bethlehem in Palestine, but it was an easy mistake to make. If […]

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Tourism Conservation & Planning at Peak Park in San Andres, Colombia

Solimar was recently contracted to support the development of a 5-year management plan for a protected area on the Caribbean island of Old Providencia, in the Colombian Department of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina. Solimar is tasked with developing innovative ideas to engage stakeholders working within the park to generate a sustainable source of […]

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Solimar Completes Second of Five Sustainable Tourism Courses for Ethiopian Officials

Following the first training Solimar launched in Ethiopia, Matthew Humke delivered two individual 23-day Integrated Destination Planning and Management courses as part of Solimar’s Short Term Sustainable Tourism Training Program. . Each course covered seven modules, including Destination Typology, Tourism Assessment Techniques and Tools, Tourism and Resource Conservation, Tourism Product Development, Destination Marketing, Managing the […]

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Preserving Cultural Heritage in the Land of Thunder Dragon

The number of international tourism arrivals in Bhutan has steadily increased since the early 2000s but only 50,000 international tourists visited Bhutan in 2013. (RA Online Bhutan). This is a surprisingly low number given the country’s rich culture, picturesque landscapes, and location between the two largest countries in the world, India and China. The low […]

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Join Us! Discover How Tourism Supports Cultural Heritage in Georgia

  At the crossroads of Europe, Asia and the Middle-East is the country of Georgia, tucked between the Caucasus mountain range and the Black Sea. Georgia has a long and rich cultural history that can be seen in its vibrant culinary traditions, dazzling dance, haunting polyphonic music, and soaring early-Christian cathedrals. Georgia is also widely […]

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Culture Matters: An Afternoon Symposium with The Smithsonian Institution

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival is a celebration of cultural arts from exemplary destinations; destinations that are diverse, authentic, and home to living traditions—both old and new. This year’s Festival highlights the cultural heritage of Peru – and to accompany the theme, Smithsonian created a symposium at the Freer Gallery of Art to emphasis the importance […]

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Cultural Tourism Leads the Growth of Travel Industry

With the tourism industry growing steadily, we became curious to see if cultural tourism is a key contributor. Over the past couple of weeks, we have found that an expanding number of travelers are more interested in cultural heritage and cultural activities when planning a trip now than ever before. Their search for cultural exposure  […]

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Cultural Tourism: Four Examples of How It Works for Destinations

The World Tourism Organisation tells us that cultural tourism accounts for 37% of global tourism, and furthermore affirms that it will continue to grow 15% each year. With all of this market interest, destinations should leverage what makes their societies unique and invest in developing cultural tourism programs. What is Cultural Tourism? Cultural tourism allows […]

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Johnny Cay Regional Park: Strategies for Conservation in the Caribbean

Johnny Cay, a small Colombian island in the Caribbean, faces significant conservation challenges. Although the park is a protected area, currently no license system or code of conduct exists for the tour operators who bring tourists to Johnny Cay from nearby San Andres. This lack of a tourism management plan has led to negative environmental […]

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Solimar Conducts Workshops in Malawi to Develop Five-Year Tourism Strategy Plan

Solimar International has partnered with Via Via Tourism Academy, at the request of the Ministry of Information, to develop a five-year tourism development strategy for Malawi. From February 1-8, two workshops were conducted with over 100 individuals from the private, public, non-profit, and donor sectors to identify the country’s unique tourism assets and create a […]

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Five of Solimar’s Conservation Projects

As Earth Day took place this week, it’s only natural to think about how tourism is used to support conservation. When done sustainably, tourism serves as a powerful tool to support conservation of the ecosystems upon which it depends. In this spirit, Solimar has collaborated with a large number of hotels, tour operators and destinations […]

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Tourism’s Important Role in Conservation Projects

Baby sea turtles Conservation projects are currently taking the world by storm due to greater awareness and the unstoppable growth of global tourism. Did you know that tourism is one of the planet’s biggest industries and one of the largest drivers of economic growth all over the world? You may be surprised to learn that […]

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Solimar Conducts Research to Help Tourism SMEs Improve Their Marketing Practices

Solimar International is conducting a study on behalf of the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC) to analyze information and communication technology (ICT) tools used in tourism marketing by SMEs in member countries of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC). As online marketing is considered a crucial tool for destinations and tourism businesses to […]

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Opening of Myanmar Tourism Federation Office in DC

Last night, Solimar International had the pleasure of opening the Myanmar Tourism Federation’s (MTF) first North American Office in history. This was a momentous occasion for both Myanmar and Solimar International, with bright expectations and hopes paving the way for a thriving future in this country. The turnout at the event was spectacular, with representatives […]

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Four Benefits that Sustainable Tourism Development Ensures for Cuba

The story of international tourism to Cuba is a complex one. From the pre-Revolution Tropicana Club and casino days to tourism’s eradication under Castro, and now back again with predominantly Havana and all-inclusive resort promotions, the island’s relationship to international tourism has constantly evolved. Cuba received more than three million international tourists in 2014, more […]

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Why Washington DC Is The Perfect Place For US Marketing Representation

In this day and age, tourism’s growth is a force which simply cannot be ignored. This year, the tourism and travel industry will accelerate faster than the global economy, making up 10% of Global GDP and 9.5% of employment worldwide. It’s clear that the decisions affecting tourism will have tremendous impacts on lives everywhere. Washington, […]

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How to Tell if Your Marketing Representation is Working

So you have successfully selected a marketing representative for your unique destination. You have been working with them for a few months now, but how do you determine if the work they are doing for you is paying off? You want to ensure that they are marketing your location accurately and effectively. In order to […]

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Wrapping Up The Namibia North American Destination Marketing Program

After four amazing, rewarding years, Solimar wraps up its work in Namibia. Last week, the 4-year North American Destination Marketing (NADM) Campaign came to an end. The project was managed by Cardno and implemented with four other companies, including Solimar. In 2010, when the campaign began, traditional source markets for Namibia, specifically European tourism, were […]

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Three Natural Heritage Sites Our Grandkids May Never See

Natural heritage sites are changing in this ever-evolving world, and not for the better. Organizations like the PUP Global Heritage Consortium are working to revolutionize the way these sites are managed, with a holistic, adaptable approach. They are the ones working to ensure that our grandkids will get the chance to see these sites. But […]

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Solimar Delivers First of Five Sustainable Tourism Training Courses to Ethiopian Officials

On January 3rd, Solimar wrapped its Tourism Planning and Implementation Course, our first of five courses scheduled under the Ethiopia Short-Term Training Program. The 14-day course was delivered at the Ethiopian Management Institute in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, to a group of 35 participants from the Ethiopian government. At the national level, there were representatives from the Ministry of […]

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Solimar’s Top 10 Destinations For Your 2015 Bucket List

Can you believe we’re already a month into 2015? We hope your year is off to a great start and that you are still keeping with those New Year’s Resolutions. One resolution we think you shouldn’t forget about: Travel more! To help you out, Solimar has compiled a list of the top 10 places we […]

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Big Payoffs For Rwanda After A Solimar-Hosted Familiarization Trip

In December 2014, Solimar hosted a group of 11 tour operators and travel agents from East Africa and the United States to explore Rwanda first hand as part of a program with the Rwanda Development Board (RDB) to expand global awareness of the country’s diverse attraction, increase the number of available Rwanda itineraries, and boost […]

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Guidelines for Improving Tourism Operations

A great business plan and strategy are important first steps in developing sustainable tourism in an area, but real results are a direct reflection of the operations and management on the ground. Take for example, Solimar’s work in the Pearl Cays region of Nicaragua or Big Bend-Rio Bravo, Mexico. Both of these projects, which started in […]

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Solimar’s Experience at the 2014 Adventure Travel World Summit in Ireland

Last week, 700 international delegates from various sectors of the tourism industry gathered in Killarney, Ireland for the 2014 Adventure Travel World Summit (ATWS). The Summit aimed to promote Ireland as an adventure travel destination, connect hundreds of like-minded travel leaders from around the globe, foster peer-to-peer exchanges on best practices and operational strategies, and […]

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Destination Video Launch for San Andrés, Colombia

Solimar, in conjunction with the National Geographic Society Maps Division, recently wrapped up work in the Colombian archipelago of San Andres, Providencia, and Santa Catalina. The Geotourism program focused on improving market access for small and medium sized tourism businesses on the islands by sharing and promoting the stories of local people and the unique […]

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Workforce Development and Training in Chocó, Colombia

In today’s highly competitive global marketplace, it is difficult for destinations to compete without a well-trained workforce capable of delivering quality experiences for visitors. This is especially true when developing sustainable tourism in remote destinations—which is a challenging task. Engaging in sustainable practices requires a relatively high level of education and residents of remote destinations […]

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Solimar Begins Work With The Great Himalaya Trail In Nepal

In late 2014, Solimar International began working with the Great Himalaya Trail (GHT) in Nepal.  The GHT is a network of trails that currently span across the Nepali Himalayas. The experiences offered along these trails are rough, but unforgettable. Trekkers are afforded spectacular views of the most breathtaking mountain range on earth, they have meaningful exchanges […]

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Myanmar Investment Outreach Forum with Don Hawkins

On September 24th, Solimar International Chairman Don Hawkins was a panel speaker at the first Myanmar Investment Outreach Business & Investment Forum, held in New York City. The event, which was headed by Myanmar Minister at the President’s Office U Soe Thane, was organized to promote and encourage foreign direct investment in the Southeast Asian […]

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Solimar Signs North American Tourism Marketing Representation Agreement with Myanmar Tourism Federation

Solimar International is pleased to announce that we have signed a three-year contract to represent the Myanmar Tourism Federation (MTF) in North America. Together, MTF and Solimar will work to position Myanmar as an exciting, exotic and undiscovered destination for North American tourists. Myanmar has an untouched quality that gives visitors the experience of feeling […]

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7 Components of a Great Integrated Marketing Program

What is Integrated marketing & why does it matter?   Integrated Marketing is a strategy that reinforces your company’s ultimate message and is consistent across all communication platforms. It is important because consumers are present online as well as offline. In the tourism industry, in order to be competitive, you need to be where the […]

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3 Questions Your Tourism Plan Should Answer

1. Where are we? After you have identified an area prime for destination development, one of the next steps should be conducting a destination tourism assessment. This assessment will provide an analysis of the competition in your region as a tourist destination and help implement the steps you need to take for your tourism planning. The market […]

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The Importance of Measuring & Evaluating After Marketing Training

Has your destination just completed a marketing training exercise? Or maybe you’ve just begun creating a new marketing campaign? Or perhaps you are even in the weeds of implementing a marketing plan. No matter where you are in the process, it’s important to make sure you aren’t leaving out the final key step of marketing […]

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Taking the Next Steps in Tourism Operations and Development in the Republic of Georgia

One of Solimar international’s current projects is helping develop tourism strategies for two fairly small regions of the Republic of Georgia, Mtskheta Mtianeti and Samtskhe Javakheti. The project is kicking into gear, with timelines and projects being identified and implemented. Last week, Solimar International’s president Chris Seek spent several days in the Republic of Georgia […]

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Destination Management and Planning in Baja California Sur, Mexico

Sierra la Giganta in Baja California Sur, Mexico is a remote and remarkable desert landscape where soaring red rock mountains plunge into the clear and cool waters of the Gulf of California. Solimar International and local partner RED Sustainable Travel have been working in the region for the last year to develop a destination management and marketing plan that promotes Sierra la Giganta’s unique natural […]

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Reviving Tourism in a Border Town: Boquillas, Mexico

Ernesto Hernandez and I walked along a dusty trail that ran alongside the Rio Grande River as it continued to carve out the border between the US and Mexico in Big Bend National Park. As we walked, we heard a single, soaring voice that bounced off the sheer cliff walls of the river canyon and […]

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5 Common Mistakes in Business Planning

“The business of a business is business” goes the famous saying. Simply put, it means that a business needs to be practical (has a sound model, makes money) and realistic (whatever you set out to achieve, you should be able to achieve it) to operate successfully. However, growing a business that is both practical and […]

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Solimar Leads Tourism Training and Development in Eastern Sri Lanka

Since September 2013, Solimar International has been supporting USAID’s BIZ+ Program in Sri Lanka. The country has been opening its doors to the world to improve its economy after a violent 26-year conflict that ended in 2009. USAID’s BIZ+ program aims to stimulate economic growth, job creation, and to increase household incomes in the economically […]

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Searching for a Sustainable Destination Management Model in Jordan

One of the greatest challenges facing destinations around the world is finding a way to bring together tourism stakeholders to work collaboratively to develop, manage, and market their tourism destination.  It’s widely understood by tourism professionals that Destination Management Organizations (DMOs)play a key and important role in connecting the tourism industry and serving as an advocate […]

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New Destination Marketing Video Showcases Authentic Greenland

Destination Arctic Circle in Greenland, a destination marketing organization supported by Solimar, produced a new social media video campaign to set their destination apart from other arctic locations.  When I ask people what they think of when they think of Greenland, they inevitably say something like “volcanoes” or “Bjork” – both of which belong to Iceland. […]

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Namibia Online Marketing Campaign Reaches 6 Million People

The MCC-funded “Conservation Destination” campaign reaches over 6 million people through social media, education and a sweepstakes to raise awareness for Namibia’s exceptional conservation-based tourism assets. Four animated characters were used as ambassadors for the campaign. Launched on Earth Day 2012, “Conservation Destination” wasdesigned and implemented by Solimar International for the Namibia Tourism Board  as an innovative social […]

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Are Tourism Marketers Bad at Dating?

Luckily I have been out of the dating scene for over 13 years, thanks to my wonderful wife who I somehow convinced to marry me. I use the term “lucky” not just because I married a woman out of my league, but also because I am glad to be out of the dating scene which […]

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Sustaining Momentum for Go Blue Central America

In 2010, Solimar partnered with National Geographic, USAID, the Inter-American Development Bank and other key stakeholders to improve market access for small and medium sized tourism businesses in Bocas del Toro, Panama and Roatán, Honduras. The economies of Bocas del Toro and Roatán rely heavily on tourism and fishing, the growth of which jeopardizes their […]

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How to Involve Locals in Destination Management & Marketing

In today’s tourism marketing world, all the buzz is around discovering a destination like a local. If you search for “travel like a local,” you will find countless articles and websites trying to help travelers discover destinations through a different perspective. As an avid traveler that loves to escape tourist traps, I appreciate destination marketing […]

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Destination Marketing: Brands We Love

Creating a destination brand is an important part of destination marketing, but the process can be arduous and intimidating. How do you capture an entire destination in one cohesive brand? It’s no easy task, but here are some of our favorite destination brands and a brief look at what makes them successful. Play on Words […]

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The Evolution of Destination Management

In the 1950s, before affordable jetliners helped to launch the modern-day tourism explosion, the world experienced 25 million international tourism arrivals a year. Today, as the world population has grown significantly and people, on the whole, have more disposable income, that number has jumped over 1 billion. Before the advent of the Internet, destinations tended to […]

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Tourism Marketing Project Update: Armenia Destination Website

Solimar is working with the USAID funded EDMC Project in supporting the National Competitiveness Foundation of Armenia (NCFA) to develop a national tourism website designed to raise awareness of the country in key international markets . Tourism in Armenia has experienced high rates of growth in the past few years, made possible by a combination of the national government’s […]

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Geotourism & The Tuskegee Multicultural Center

Solimar & Geotourism  Alabama as well as Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi partnered with National Geographic and Solimar to promote Geotourism development. This partnership contributed to the region’s competitiveness as a tourism destination by facilitating collaboration between local business owners, governments, interest groups and residents, helping market the region’s sustainable tourism assets. Solimar has managed activities […]

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Developing a Successful Integrated Marketing Plan for Namibia

One of the most comprehensive services that Solimar International offers is our Integrated Marketing Program. The model entails a tailored, uniform marketing strategy across all platforms that highlights and meets the goals of a certain destination or business. We recently saw great success using this approach in our Namibia North American Destination Marketing (NADM) project, […]

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Solimar Plays Key Role in Bringing Eco-lodge to Bale Mountains National Park

This summer, Jember Limited’s General Manager Guy Levene and the Ethiopia Wildlife Conservation Authority’s (EWCA) Director General Dr. Kifle Argaw signed a concession agreement for the construction of an eco-lodge in the Bale Mountains National Park (BMNP).  This momentous occasion – only the third concession agreement ever signed by EWCA -represented the culmination of several […]

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Our Natasha Martin Receives Award from Namibia Tourism Industry Group

We’re so happy to share with you some exciting news! Solimar International’s Natasha Martin has received the 2013 Award of Merit from the Hospitality Association of Namibia. Natasha has been hard at work in Namibia for over a year as part of our North American Destination Marketing program funded by the Millenium Challenge Corporation. The HAN award commends Natasha’s […]

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The Intersection of Politics and International Development

On September 10, Devex published an article on the 2012 U.S. presidential candidates’ positions on foreign assistance. In this day and age, although the U.S. allocates far less than most developed countries in terms of percentage of GDP, foreign assistance is unlikely to not be part of any administration’s budget. We live in a complex, globalized world, and our […]

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Tourism Circuits Launch in Morocco

In just a few short weeks, Solimar’s Promart (Promotion d’Artisanat) Project will see the culmination of months of hard work with the placement of orientation and interpretation signs along the newly-created circuits in the Medinas of Fes and Marrakech. Medinas, translated as “the old city,” are the historic Arab sections of North African cities known for their […]

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Tourism Development Assessment in Colombia

Lucia Prinz and I are currently in Colombia completing a tourism sector assessment along Colombia’s Pacific coast for the USAID Colombia BIOREDD+ Program (Biodiversity – Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation. Sustainable Destination Development in Utria Tourism sector assessments help destinations and development organizations plan strategically for tourism development. Similar to a feasibility study or value chain analysis, the […]

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“Share My Namibia” Social Media Marketing Campaign Launched

On October 8, Solimar supported the Namibia Tourism Board launch a new online marketing campaign to increase awareness of the country and generate tangible new sales leads for tour operators. “Share My Namibia” uses innovative Facebook applications and the National Georaphic Geostories platform to highlight Namibia’s iconic destinations through the eyes of local Namibians. At […]

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Batwa Trail Upgrade Attracts More Visitors in Uganda

The Batwa Trail, located in the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, offers a nature walk tour that introduces visitors to the Batwa culture. Batwa are indigenous communities who previously inhabited the Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks in Uganda. A marginalized hunter-gatherer tribe, the Batwa have a wealth of knowledge about the forests and maintain a rich […]

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Gringo Trails: A Must Watch before Your Next Trip

Before you embark on your next adventure, take the time to view Gringo Trails. This feature-length documentary, directed and produced by American anthropologist Pegi Vail, sheds insight on the unanticipated impact of one of the world’s most powerful globalizing forces—tourism. Gringo Trails illustrates three cautionary case studies that reveal the devastating effects tourism can have […]

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“Share My Namibia” Destination Marketing Campaign Exceeds 14 Million

For 8 weeks from October 8 – November 30, Solimar designed and implemented the Namibia Tourism Board‘s “Share My Namibia” campaign. This cross-platform effort used engaging stories, photos, and videos to highlight Namibia iconic attractions from a personal, local perspective. Namibia is a a great destination to market. The amazing landscapes and incredible wildlife almost sell themselves. […]

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Project Kicks Off in Morocco

On May 23, 2012, Solimar International kicked off its 13 month project: Promotion des Circuits Touristiques Integrant L’artisanat (Promotion of Tourism Circuits that Integrate Handcrafts, funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). This project aims to increase the convergence between the craft and tourism industries and increase revenue through the creation of tourism circuits in the […]

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Solimar Continues Support for the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria

This year marks Solimar’s fifth year working on the Global  Sustainable Tourism Criteria – a groundbreaking set of voluntary guidelines created to provide an international understanding of sustainable tourism. The long term goal: strengthen consumer confidence in  the tourism industry’s sustainability claims and provide a clear path for tourism business seeking more sustainability in their […]

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Introducing a Completely New Approach to Travel Marketing

I love marketing almost as much as I love traveling. The idea of using communication to create value for a company is something that I connected with at an early age. When I founded Solimar, I wanted to apply my love for travel and my passion for marketing to help small and medium-sized tourism businesses located […]

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Solimar Joins Global Partnership for Oceans

In an effort to address tourism’s impact on our oceans, Solimar partners with an organization dedicated to protecting marine resources.  The Global Partnership for Oceans, officially launched at the Rio+20  United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012, is a partnership of over 100 governments, international agencies, civil society groups, and private sector companies […]

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Marketing Training Promotes Businesses in Bolivia

The quirky Bolivian town of Rurrenabaque is the ideal starting point for visitors wishing to experience some of the rich biodiversity, gorgeous landscapes, native cultures and friendly locals that make the Amazon so special. Whether tourists want to discover the ancient survival skills of the Amazon, visit the wildlife of the pampas, explore daily life on a […]

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Pearls of Uganda Wins TO DO! Award

Solimar extends a big congratulations to the Uganda Community Tourism Association (UCOTA) as it will be presented the TO DO! Socially Responsible Award for 2012 in recognition of its Pearls of Uganda program. This is the second consecutive year that one of Solimar’s clients is awarded the TO DO! Award. Last year’s winner was the San Miguel del Bala Ecolodge, a community-run […]

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Homespun Development: Community-based Tourism in Alabama

For years, Solimar has worked to promote sustainable growth through tourism in destinations around the globe. With one special project, we’ve had the opportunity to turn to our own back yard and look at how the tried and tested programs employed in the deserts of Africa, the mountains of Eastern Europe, and the jungles of […]

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Solimar Wins New Project in Morocco

In November 2011, Solimar began working on a proposal for the AFM6 project from the L’Agence du Partenariat pour le Progrès (APP), a Moroccan government agency that was created by the Prime Minister’s office for the execution of Morocco’s 5-year, $697.5 million dollar award from the Millennium Challenge Corporation. The Solimar team worked tirelessly for 6 weeks […]

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Morocco: A Land of Mystery & Beauty

Carpets, one of Morocco’s most remarkable crafts, are all intricately hand woven on looms. The carpets that are most recognizable are probably the Berber carpets. Berber carpets date back to the Paleolithic era and the hand spun cloth that was used to make the carpets are from natural materials. Essential oils and perfumes are a […]

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Ethiopia Becomes Africa’s UNESCO World Heritage Site Leader

The dramatic scenery of Konso in southwestern Ethiopia has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This will be Ethiopia’s ninth such site, meaning it has more than any other country in Africa. This occasion was celebrated in Konso with an event organized by the Ethiopian Authority for Research and Conservation of Cultural Heritage, and was […]

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Early Successes in Bocas del Toro

We recently told you about the launch of the geotourism mapguide program in Bocas del Toro, Panama. The Solimar team has been hard at work for a few months getting ready for the official call for nominations, which began June 1st.The Bocas Geotourism Stewardship Council (GSC) began with 7 members and now has 13 active members, […]

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Roots of Ethiopia Website Launch Promotes Community Tourism

Solimar is proud to announce the launch of the Roots of Ethiopia website. This unique portal promotes the wide range of community tourism products found in Ethiopia; thus helping to position it as a top community tourism destination in Africa. The website has been developed by the Ethiopian Sustainable Tourism Alliance in partnership with the Frankfurt Zoological […]

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Rwenzori National Park Adds New Tourism Products

Earlier this week, Ashley discussed our efforts in Uganda to boost conservation through tourism in national parks. One place where we have worked to accomplish this goal is in Rwenzori. Here we developed new tourism products to boost visitation and revenue, which is vital to conservation. Increased tourism has also helped provide new sources of […]

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Why Inbound Marketing?

So we know what inbound marketing is, but why is it important to the travel and tourism industry? The travel industry has changed. Just look at the numbers: 85% of travel research is carried out via search engines, 49% is done via online hotel reviews, and 62% is done via online travel reviews and comments. It […]

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Bocas del Toro: Telling Their Story

In February, Solimar began working in Bocas del Toro, a Panamanian archipelago located in the Caribbean near the Costa Rican border. It is one of the main tourism destinations in Panama, but also a biological hotspot for flora and fauna. Close to the main island, Isla Colón, is Dolphin Bay, where large populations of dolphins […]

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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

Contact us

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    3400 11th Street NW, Suite 200
    Washington, DC 20010
  • Phone

    (202) 518-6192