Happy new year! As with nearly everyone in the tourism industry, the past two years have been filled with uncertainty for Solimar International. With the volatility of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was uncertain when and if the world would open for travel again. Fortunately, we find ourselves entering 2022 as busy as ever and excited to work in a number of new destinations around the world.
Highlights of several of Solimar International’s 2022 projects include:
Looking to highlight precious UNESCO World Heritage sites across Central Asia, Solimar is working towards sustainable tourism development of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in six Central Asian countries: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Iran, and Turkmenistan. Working closely with stakeholders from these countries, we are promoting a series of workshops to assure sustainable governance, conservation and promotion of cultural and natural heritage sites. The knowledge will be synthesized and promoted to the public in a website that will feature top aspects of each destination and local attractions. To supplement these detailed learning courses, we have brought several tourism experts to be guest interviewed. This expands upon the work we did to create World Heritage Journeys in Europe and South Asia. Stay tuned for our Silk Road site launch and start planning your trip to Central Asia!
Our new Visit Tunisia project aims to increase Tunisia’s tourism competitiveness profile and establish the country as a promising destination by highlighting its cultural heritage, history and rich natural resources. Working closely with the Ministry of Tourism, Solimar is working to develop strategic planning, branding, and tourism products, including events, local businesses and festivals. The project aims to develop areas of the country where tourism is not well established yet. Working together with the public and private sector, fostering sustainable tourism innovation, encouraging new technologies, and stimulating women and youth entrepreneurship will be key factors to the project’s success.
This project, in partnership with Colorado Rural Academy for Tourism (CRAFT), was launched to assist Colorado’s recovery after COVID-19. It consists of a series of workshops, consultancies and action plans to restart the destinations, restart industry associations and reimagine tourism in the destinations. One of the most unique parts of this project is the constant contact with the local community and working together with different stakeholders to establish what is the best way to build a better future for tourism in Colorado. Solimar has a history with this destination through our Lewis and Clark projects so it is good to be present in such crucial moments and help develop a strategy that will benefit the community.
Have you ever wanted to participate in a unique tourism experience that has real impacts on conservation in one of the world’s most wild places?, venturing down a river deep into Guyana’s pristine rainforests to stay with an indigenous group? Now is your chance! We are working with world renowned tourism for conservation group Friends of Wallacea to bring their Warapoka, Guyana tour to market. Throughout 2022, they are offering incredibly unique opportunities to take conservation minded tourists on a truly unforgettable experience found nowhere else in the world.
This project, in partnership with UNESCO, aims to promote cultural tourism in the city of Khiva in Uzbekistan. The city had an increase in tourism flows in 2018 and 2019, which grew stakeholder’s interest and community involvement in tourism related activities. Unfortunately, after COVID struck, the destination observed a decrease in tourism activities. In order to recreate the momentum Uzbekistan was building in 2018, UNESCO partnered with Solimar to help rebuild the tourism sector in Khiva. The involvement of various stakeholders will be essential as we develop a destination marketing brand, website, and marketing program.
Ecotourism is an important product for Cambodia, as it has the power to harness growth in rural communities, diminish overtourism in urban centers, and improve income opportunities in rural areas. With this in mind, Cambodia’s Ministry of Environment in partnership with Solimar and Emerging360 has invested in research that will help the country develop a plan for ecotourism in the Cardamom mountains. The project will consist of building a six-year Regional Ecotourism Development Plan for three priority destinations that are to be developed as hubs for ecotourism in the country. Solimar’s role will be to assist in detailed desk research about the country’s ecotourism, research on tourism products, and conduct workshops/ interviews to better understand local needs.
With a more financial and economic side, this project aims to assess potential development and investment opportunities in the Republic of Congo. It aims to follow an innovative approach of adaptability according to different phases of implementation. Solimar’s role will be to create a bridge between the tourism industry in the Republic of Congo and international investors, mobilizing experts in ecotourism to help build a sustainable tourism background and develop a National Tourism Strategy. We will also play an essential role in creating links between the private sector, national government, and local communities to identify the country’s touristic potential and improve regulations that will allow the development of sustainable tourism.
With the primary focus on conserving biodiversity and enabling sustainable economic growth, this project aims to engage the communities in the management of protected areas in Liberia. With an innovative approach, Solimar, USAID and various partners in the field of development and conservation, want to build an easily replicable model that will promote ecosystem and species protection, facilitate equity, and increase prosperity and local ownership. This will be done through the development of a business and investment environment in the country, building tourism infrastructure and supporting activities related to the management of protected areas. We recognize the important role that tourism plays in environmental protection. Because of that, we are working towards building a path that will lead to effective policies, helping tourism maximize its potential.
With its newly established Sugar River Region Destination Council (SRRDC), Sullivan County in New Hampshire is seeking to position its regional offerings as a growing destination for the US market. With its vast experience in building DMOs, Solimar will work closely with the SRRDC and students from local universities for capacity building. The project will take place through various workshops that will display best practices from DMOs from the US and abroad.
The Sundarbans forest is an ecosystem that is essential for local livelihoods and culture. The importance of the Sundarbans is recognized on a global scale, as it is the world’s largest remaining mangrove forest. The lack of regulation in touristic activity in the region has resulted in diminishing biodiversity and negative impacts against the life of fisherman who depend on this ecosystem for subsistence. Keeping this in mind, Solimar and USAID are working to build lower impact tourism in the region by mapping sites that require interventions, creating strategic plans to increase visitation, establishing a DMO and conducting campaigns that promote conservation. To achieve this, we will work closely with both the public and private sector to secure investments.