Tag: Solimar

Kiama, a beautiful destination near Sydney, Australia with a comprehensive storytelling and destination marketing plan.

In the dynamic landscape of 21st-century tourism, the forces of climate change, social media, and a major post-pandemic travel resurgence are shaping the industry. As such, the significance of storytelling in sustainable destination and tourism marketing has never been greater.

The art of storytelling now stands as a pivotal tool in captivating the hearts and minds of travelers. Every destination harbors a unique narrative, yet not all have mastered the art of narrating it effectively. To craft a compelling marketing campaign for your tourism offerings, one must delve into the profound craft of storytelling marketing.

What is storytelling in sustainable destination and tourism marketing?

At Solimar International, we have elevated storytelling to an art form and a passion. With a global portfolio of projects, we are dedicated to developing, managing, and promoting sustainable tourism destinations.

Our approach transcends conventional content marketing, forging emotional connections that bind audiences to the destination. It involves crafting a narrative that weaves together the destination’s history, culture, and community through engaging anecdotes and stories that resonate with travelers.

A destination rich in compelling stories stands poised to reap the rewards of increased footfall, expenditure, and profitability. The challenge, however, lies in the fact that many Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) excel in content marketing and optimizing the marketing mix. However, they often overlook this deeper connection.

Technical aspects like segmentation and search engine optimization are important, but they work even better when combined with storytelling techniques.

To make a successful tourism content marketing campaign, remember these four essential elements of storytelling skills:

  • Creation and maintenance of a consistent narrative and brand.
  • Illumination of knowledge that fosters interest, reliability, and relatability to the destination.
  • Celebration of distinctiveness and noteworthiness of the destination.
  • Brand connection from the heart and engagement through emotion.

Creation and maintenance of a consistent narrative and brand.

A place needs a clear brand and identity that stays consistent across all aspects of marketing. Marketing messages should consistently communicate the destination brand through memorable points of discussion, such as personal or collective stories. These stories promote the destination brand on a deeper level, creating greater engagement, reputation, and conversion.

Sustainable tourism marketing strategy example: Blue Mountains

Earlier this year, I went to my favorite destination, the Blue Mountains, near Sydney, Australia. I admired the local community’s work and Blue Mountains Tourism‘s efforts to establish a consistent story and brand for the area. This brand focused on community and ecotourism despite being impacted by devastating bushfires in 2019-2020. 

The storytelling narrative of community strength and grassroots sustainability was integral in the positioning of their tourism branding. For example, local groups collaborated to promote tourism and obtained certification from Ecotourism Australia, Australia’s ecotourism accreditation body.

You can sense their strong connection to the area when you talk to locals or visit local businesses in the mountains. Their passion for the Blue Mountains inspired me to join their cause. Indeed, the destination’s brand reflects the love and care for storytelling through mesmerizing natural, sustainable ecotourism experiences in the region.

Wentworth Falls in the pristine Blue Mountains, an Ecotourism certified sustainable tourist destination. The blue mountains has a great tourism storytelling and destination marketing strategy.
Photograph of Wentworth Falls in the pristine Blue Mountains, an Ecotourism certified sustainable tourist destination (Photo Credit: Christos Anastasiou).

Illumination of knowledge that fosters interest, reliability, and relatability to the destination.

Many of the destinations that Solimar International works with are still in the early stages of building their tourism industries. Many of these destinations are still unknown to most individuals, let alone as a candidate for their next adventure. 

Education can clear up misconceptions and can inform people of the opportunities that exist that they may not be aware of. For example, many people are probably unaware of the beautiful destinations within Liberia, such as Libassa Ecolodge.  

Good storytelling boosts a destination’s reputation, dependability, and interest in its products and services, opening new opportunities. Storytelling also displays how certain tourism experiences and brands are accessible to everyone, not just select groups of people. Hence, they may feel more likely to have a connection to, and thus purchase a holiday to the destination.

Sustainable tourism marketing strategy example: Liberia

Speaking of Liberia, Solimar International’s Liberia Conservation Works project captivates the importance of sharing knowledge in storytelling. The project involves strategic content creation that educates the public on the beautiful places, cuisines, and activities to do in Liberia.

The beautiful Libassa Ecolodge, a sustainable tourism hotspot in Liberia. Solimar International is currently implementing sustainable tourism storytelling in their destination marketing strategy in Liberia.
The beautiful Libassa Ecolodge, a sustainable tourism hotspot in Liberia (Photo Credit: Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs, and Tourism (MICAT))

The project empowers Liberian communities and individuals to share their stories with the world. This will make people trust Liberia as a tourist spot and know about its interesting places. It builds trust and encourages people to add Liberia to their travel experience list and plan a trip to the country. 

Celebration of distinctiveness and noteworthiness of the destination.

How often do you open your social media platforms? Do you often see aesthetically pleasing photographs of picturesque scenery or luxury hotels? Are they posted for engagement and popularity? These photos are crucial in any content or influencer marketing campaign, but on the surface, they are very common.

A good storytelling tourism campaign tells stories that highlight what makes a place special compared to others, to create meaningful written and visual content. It will also highlight the destination’s known highlights and idiosyncrasies. You can read a great example here by Thomas Kalchik, another blogger here at Solimar International. 

Kalchik’s skillful storytelling beautifully captures the allure of Capurganá, Colombia, elegantly blending vivid descriptions of its unique biodiversity and stunning scenery with the positive impacts of tourism. This narrative sets Capurganá apart as a distinct ecotourism destination, inviting readers to envision an immersive and transformative vacation experience in this hidden gem.

It’s essential to present information in an exciting way, so the audience doesn’t become overwhelmed with a sea of complex information. While there may be a wealth of incredible information about the destination, the overuse of statistics or complicated facts can bore the audience.

Instead, including some of this information in small portions within a story about the place is better for creating memories. It’s also a good idea to explain the unique stories behind photos in more detail to attract the ideal customers. It also gives photographs and destinations depth and life.

Sustainable tourism marketing strategy example: Australian Tourism Data Warehouse

DMOs can use a variety of tools to assist with showcasing the stories of their destination’s distinctiveness and noteworthiness. With destinations having a large variety of attractions and services, there is no better way of doing this than letting tourism communities and businesses tell their own stories.

In Australia, there is a tool called the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse (ATDW). The ATDW is a platform for user-generated content, which plugs into DMO websites. Local tourism operators use it to create a digital marketing profile.

Illawarra Fly, near Wollongong, Australia, an interactive ecotourism experience that is supported by the ATDW in their marketing campaign for tourism (Photo Credit: Christos Anastasiou).
Illawarra Fly, near Wollongong, Australia, an interactive ecotourism experience that is supported by the ATDW in their marketing campaign for tourism (Photo Credit: Christos Anastasiou).

This profile is then posted on DMO websites across the country, including Tourism Australia and other local or state websites. These profiles allow businesses to highlight their points of difference and what makes them special, curating their own content marketing campaign.

Businesses can prioritize storytelling over more time-consuming marketing and branding tasks, to attract tourists with a captivating and persuasive narrative. It also allows tourism businesses to showcase their accreditations, including their Ecotourism Australia certifications, which display their level of sustainability.

Brand connection from the heart and engagement through emotion.

The key to good storytelling in sustainable destination and tourism marketing is the bond created between the storyteller and the audience through the brand’s story. The deeper the connection, the deeper the desire to travel to the destination. One way to do this is to appeal to the audience’s emotions and generate a desire for visitation. One method is to create a content marketing plan that makes your audience feel happy and unable to ignore.

Destinations can do this effectively through the advertising of local cuisine. Food advertisements in tourism content marketing are powerful and reach many audiences because everyone loves food! Food is also a vehicle for local culture, which too strengthens the connection between the audience and the destination.

There are two main ways to engage an audience: through humor and by discussing the enjoyment of a tourism adventure. Another way is to create empathy and connection with people and communities that would benefit from visiting.

Sustainable tourism marketing strategy example: “Stay close, go further.”

Visit Victoria, the tourism organization of my state in Australia launched a successful tourism campaign called “Stay close, go further.” This campaign effectively utilized emotions and created heartfelt connections with its audience.

This campaign happened after a three-month lockdown in 2020 ended. Victorians were tired of staying home and wanted tourism to resume.

The campaign aimed to encourage people from Victoria to explore regional Victoria. It aimed to support local businesses affected by lockdowns, thus promoting social sustainability.

The Bendigo Tulip festival, an event promoted as part of Visit Victoria’s “stay close, go further” destination. Visit Victoria is the lead of Victoria's Destination Marketing Strategy.
The Bendigo Tulip festival is an event promoted as part of Visit Victoria’s “stay close, go further” destination marketing campaign (Photo Credit: Amelia Gee).

This tourism marketing campaign evoked emotional connection both in generating a desire to travel after an extended period of lockdown, as well as empathy for local businesses that have faced hardship and a desire to help these businesses.

This storytelling campaign was effective as it told the stories of multiple people affected by lockdowns and created a mutually beneficial solution through sustainable tourism. This tourism campaign was very successful and still continues today, promoting local tourism to spread out visitors and lessen environmental effects.

Final Takeaways

In the realm of sustainable tourism marketing, the art of storytelling has become a potent tool for branding strategy and content marketing. Effective tourism marketing transcends mere technical aspects and delves into the craft of storytelling.

Storytelling in sustainable tourism marketing involves creating and maintaining a consistent narrative and brand. Storytelling in sustainable tourism marketing involves creating and maintaining a consistent narrative and brand. This narrative and brand should share knowledge that sparks interest and connection to the destination. It should also celebrate the destination’s uniqueness and build a strong emotional bond with the brand.

Destination marketing case studies from the Blue Mountains and Liberia, and campaigns such as “Stay close, go further” in Victoria, Australia, illustrate the power of storytelling in tourism and strong branding of destinations.

Storytelling is important for successful, sustainable tourism content marketing. It plays a key role in a changing world with climate change, social media, and post-pandemic travel.

Nacula Island in Fiji, a place with a remarkable story that inspires tourism.
Nacula Island, Fiji, a tourism location with remarkable storytelling. (Photo Credit: Christos Anastasiou)

Liked learning about storytelling in sustainable destination and tourism marketing and want to hear more? Take one of our courses to learn more about how to make your destination marketing strategy richer. Visit our Institute for Sustainable Destinations website today.

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 Solimar’s goals than Sylecia Johnston, our new project manager and DMO Development Solution lead.

Meet Sylecia Johnston!

Sylecia’s first family trip to Israel when she was just 13 months old initiated her life and love of travel, whether it be for education, business, or leisure. Throughout her career, she has also been heavily involved in the conservation of culture, heritage, environment and natural resources. 

Graduating from George Washington University with a degree in sustainable destination management, she has used her education to its full career benefit. “I’ve worked for a few different DMOs, various conservation non-profit organizations, and have sat on many boards and committees. Now, I’m ready to help establish Solimar’s DMO program on a global scale.”

Sylecia’s Work at Solimar

As a project manager at Solimar, she leads efforts and drives project communications in some of the countries that we work in. “I am one of the many project managers at Solimar, but because of the company’s reformatted structure, I am also leading DMO solutions for different destinations,” Johnston explained.

Johnston has actually followed Solimar since her days at university. “I am in my dream job right now,” she exclaimed. “Getting to step into this role at this time in my life is fortuitous. I am most excited about working with a team of individuals who are just as passionate about sustainable and regenerative tourism as I am.” 

This is her first time working with international development-funded projects like with USAID, but that doesn’t mean she is going to back down from a challenge. “I’m familiar with extensive government reporting, so I think it will be an easy transition to make,” she explained.

“What is great about a DMO is that there can be various levels of organization based on the needs or capacity of the destination, from the most basic forms to hugely elaborate with multiple committees and platforms,” explained Johnston. Because it is managed by stakeholders in the destination, DMO easiness is all about how open they are to make it as best as possible. DMOs can manage a simple website with essential information or a much more elaborate program – both can be equally effective,” she concluded.

Destination Dahar and Tunisia

Dahar area in Tunisia
Dahar Area in Tunisia (Wikimedia Commons)

Johnston is working on a wide array of DMO solutions for many Solimar projects, including the work to support Destination Dahar under the scope of the USAID Visit Tunisia project. Johnston is quite familiar with Tunisia. “Previous to Solimar, I was an independent consultant, and I had a client in Tunisia, so I have done a bit of research,” she elaborated. “I’ve also traveled there for vacation before, which has allowed me to keep up with the tourism industry in the country.”

Sylecia really enjoyed visiting Tunisia, despite any western world perceptions that are projected onto the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region. “There is an opportunity for bridge building and cross-cultural understanding that could take place for more western tourists to be open to traveling to Tunisia,” she added.

This perception presents an obstacle to Destination Dahar eagerly promoting the Dahar region to travelers around the world. “Dahar is a region with some of the least economic opportunities in the whole country. Many in the local communities are abandoning their villages to go to Tunis or Sfax, or migrating to Europe. The main challenge is developing a robust organization’s product offerings, experiences, tourism management, and marketing that can find the next steps to drive economic growth in the area so that people are motivated to stay.”

The hills of Dahar
The hills of Dahar (Destination Dahar)

The hills of Dahar (Destination Dahar)

Because of her experience and some insight into the future of tourism in the MENA region, Johnston believes Tunisia is very eager and open to international tourism, especially for expanded regional strength and economic benefits through travel beyond the northeastern coastline. “Development in the MENA region will lead to more stability, and investment in the industry will help establish more business, making the destination better promoted and more open to international tourists,” she commented. 

As tourist industries around the world prepare to take full advantage of a post-COVID boom, they are going to need a reliable company with a dedicated workforce to help further establish themselves on a global scale. Sylecia’s invaluable experience in the travel industry will significantly help Solimar International in achieving these goals.

Learn more about Solimar’s DMO development process here, and join us in welcoming Sylecia to the Solimar team! 

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 cases, a tourist can actually decide where they would like to visit based on conservation efforts in the area. The increasing popularity of visiting destinations with that in mind is seen with more people visiting national parks in the US or the Galapagos Islands.

Types of conservation to support through tourism

  1. Wildlife conservation

This most popular type of conservation is normally based around a specific animal or animals. Tourists chose destinations for wildlife conservation to see or interact with their favorite animals.

Destinations to best participation in wildlife conservation tourism include La Jolla, California to see the sea lions or whale watching in Hawaii. Participating in activities that involve learning about wildlife or seeing wildlife supports organizations working to help protect the wildlife. The more popular wildlife tourism is, the more support different organizations get from the public, and in turn, they are better able to protect wildlife.

Sea lions on the beach at La Jolla Cove in Southern California, with sea lions playing in the surf. Tourism helps support the conservation of this colony of sea lions.
Sea Lions in La Jolla Cove, California

2. Cultural Conservation

Cultural conservation is crucial when working in destinations. It is important that tourism does not erode the traditions and customs of a place. Cultural conservation can include shopping at local markets to support communities. UNESCO’s heritage sites are locations that hold cultural and historical significance to a region or area. These locations are great examples of where tourism and cultural conservation come together. 

3. Environmental Conservation

The third type of conservation is environmental conservation, where the efforts go beyond a single animal and focus on an environment. The national parks are a great example of how tourists can visit an area that specifically uses their profits to protect and conserve the land and create a unique opportunity where tourists can experience the environment first hand in different ways, such as camping.

How does tourism support conservation?

Tourism is important for conservation for multiple reasons. One reason is because it can financially support conservation efforts. Tourists can eat locally to support a community, or they can choose to participate in a tour where a portion of the cost goes directly to conservation efforts. Most conservation efforts actively teach people the importance of protecting different environments and inspire them to care about the new places they have seen. You’re more likely to want to save the turtles if you’ve actually seen them! 

Financial support is very important when considering conservation efforts, but knowledge and the spread of knowledge is just as important. Tourism provides the opportunity for travelers to learn more about both wildlife and the environment they are visiting, but it also gives them the opportunity to relay what they learned to friends, family, blogs or other social media. 

What is a real life example of tourists supporting wildlife conservation?

One great example of tourism supporting wildlife conservation is Camp Jabulani in South Africa. This is a luxury safari camp that provides a 5-star safari experience with game drives, spas, and hot air balloon rides, but they are also famous for their elephant preservation efforts. When tourists visit this camp, they are directly supporting the conservation of the elephants on the camp’s reserve and any future wildlife rehabilitation and habitat restoration efforts the camp carries out.

Camp Jabulani has rescued orphaned or displaced elephants and has introduced them into the herd that is living on the camp’s reserve. The camp cares for the elephants and has created a sanctuary where the elephants live freely with the help of the camp staff. Tourists are able to visit the camp and learn about the importance of elephants in an ecosystem, the efforts to create a wild experience for the elephants, and the rehabilitation care given to the rescued elephants. This is a great example of how tourism supports conservation, because without tourists, this camp would not be able to care for these elephants that don’t have a chance of survival in the wild. 

An elephant with its trunk in the air during the elephant experience at Camp Jabulani in South Africa. This experience contributes to the conservation of African wildlife.
An Elephant at Camp Jabulani

How can I, as a tourist, help support conservation?

There are many different ways a tourist can purposefully support conservation efforts during their trip. A great way is to do research before your trip to see if there are any related projects currently being managed by the hotel or location you are staying at. Some hotels offer tours that teach tourists about the surrounding environment, and in turn, profits from the tour go to conservation efforts.

Another easy way a tourist can support conservation is by respecting outdoor areas. This includes picking up trash after a beach trip, staying on a path during a forest walk, and not feeding or touching the nearby wildlife. These efforts help keep the environment healthy and prosperous.

It’s also important to research before you buy. Make sure the hotel, tour, or restaurant that claims to be conserving isn’t actually exploiting. Look for companies or organizations who focus on education and don’t allow the tourists to disrespect their surroundings. This means the organizations don’t disrupt the natural life cycle by feeding animals, waking up animals, picking flowers, and more. This is exploitation of the natural environment and can be very harmful. EcoClub has an extensive list that provides great examples of tours with a positive impact. 

An elephant at Camp Jabulani being led back to their sleeping area at sunset. There is a lake in front of the elephant with the elephant's reflection on the water and a sunset behind it. The program at Camp Jabulani helps conserve these animals and their habitat.
An Elephant Wanders at Sunset Near Camp Jabulani

Where should I visit next to support conservation efforts?

Finding your next destination to support conservation can be overwhelming. Our website lists many projects we’ve undertaken in incredible destinations around the world. You can read more about the work Solimar has done with the Choco community in Colombia, the efforts to conserve Bengal tiger habitats in the Sundarban region, and many others! Read more here about why Southern Tanzania is a great destination whose wildlife depends on tourists like you. The locals and safari camp sites here (along with many other places in southern and Eastern Africa) focus on anti-poaching and conservation efforts.

about 100 penguins at Boulder Beach in South Africa. This area is know for its array of wildlife, making conservation extremely important here.
Penguins at Boulder Beach, South Africa

Keep up with Solimar and our conservation projects here – don’t forget to like us on Facebook and LinkedIn!

Solimar International Internship where are they 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 projects. It is our goal to give our sustainable tourism interns the opportunity to learn the skills necessary to further thrive in the tourism and international development industries. We’re spotlighting some of our former interns to talk about their experiences with Solimar and where they are now! Let’s meet them:

Tesia Smith – Tourism Research Intern, current Japan and Thailand Specialist at Audley Travel

Tesia Smith is a former Tourism Research Intern at Solimar International, current Japan and Thailand Specialist at Audley Travel
Tesia in Japan

Tesia interned at Solimar International in the summer of 2007 in the DC office and in 2008 in Costa Rica. During her first summer with Solimar, she was a research intern, and had the opportunity to contribute to the Global Sustainable Tourism Alliance portfolio. She conducted research, created surveys, and analyzed data on several projects with National Geographic and Expedia. While in Costa Rica, she traveled throughout the country to various growing eco tourism destinations, collecting data and researching hotels, tours, and locations to produce content for Solimar. During the internship, she gained experience interacting with destination managers and other important contacts within the travel industry. Working for Solimar sparked her interest in travel and pursuing a career in the industry.

“The Solimar internship program really introduces you to the travel world and opens your eyes to a variety of roles which you could have in the future in the industry. Sustainable tourism and responsible tourism is becoming more and more important, and is not solely about the environment which most people think when you say sustainable. Sustainability is about the environment, but also the culture, the people, and creating an industry that helps support cultures and maintain authentic experiences. Sustainability is a lot about local laws, partnerships, and more.”

Tesia is currently working at Audley Travel as a Japan and Thailand Specialist. Audley Travel is a tailor-made travel company that customizes private itineraries. Tesia specializes in Japan and Thailand because she lived in Japan for 5 years after graduating college and her internships at Solimar, where she traveled extensively throughout South East Asia and enjoyed life in Japan. We are glad that her experience serving as a sustainable tourism intern led her to the field she is in now!

Find out more about Tesia and the work she is doing now on her LinkedIn!

Jenny Lundt – Former Tourism Marketing Intern, current Project and Communications Asssociate + director of Sustainable Tourism Internship program at Solimar International

Jenny Lundt - Former Solimar International Tourism Marketing Intern, current Project and Communications Asssociate at Solimar International
Jenny in Granada, Spain

While conducting research in Timor-Leste related to women’s livelihoods and tourism, Jenny ran into a local consultant for Solimar who told her about the Tourism for All project and gave her his contact information. Due to her unique on-the-ground experience and experience in tourism writing, CEO Chris Seek and COO Natalie Sellier (also a former intern) extended a tourism marketing internship offer to join Solimar’s first virtual cohort of interns.

She had recently graduated from Colgate University with a Bachelor’s Degree in both Peace and Conflict Studies and Middle East & Islamic Studies when she started her internship. Much of her coursework was related to sustainable development, talking about inequalities in all shapes and forms. Her internship with Solimar allowed her to combine my professional and personal passions while gaining insight into a world she knew very little about previously.

The internship at Solimar provided her with access to some of the industry’s greatest minds, such as Chris Seek, as she eagerly engaged with the learning course material covering a wide berth of content. She also believes the Solimar International internship is especially unique because the company trusts the interns with significant responsibility. In her case, she wrote the content for the entire Atauro Island website based on her experience living in the country. This led to a part-time job offer from Solimar, which has since become a full-time role.

She recently wrapped up the Southern Tanzania project, her first Solimar project from start to finish. Throughout the last year, she learned how rewarding consistent effort and client relationship management can be. Additionally, as a member of the first remote internship cohort, Jenny has worked each semester to improve the experience of subsequent virtual tourism intern cohorts. Working to recruit and expand the skills of diverse and talented minds from across the world is one of her favorite parts of her job.

She writes of her experience, “With such a small, dynamic company with operations across the world, there are always a million ways to learn, grow, connect, and improve. Working with Solimar is the best job out of college I could have imagined”.

If you are interested in learning about Jenny’s work at Solimar, check out her LinkedIn! 

Jim McCaul – former Solimar International Tourism Specialist Intern, current Senior Vice President of Destination Stewardship

Jim McCaul - former Solimar International Tourism Specialist Intern, current Senior Vice President of Destination Stewardship

Jim started working with Solimar while at The International Institute of Tourism Studies’ Consulting Practicum while completing his Masters in Tourism at George Washington University. He quickly discovered that he and the CEO, Chris Seek, shared a passion for tourism and its ability to be a profound force for good in communities. The internship was a unique opportunity to utilize the knowledge and skills Jim had developed in graduate school and apply them in a real world setting, working on a tourism development project with the Namibia Tourism Board.

“The internship helped me understand how to manage stakeholder engagement processes in polarized communities riven with differing agendas and perspectives on the future of the destination. It also gave me a profound understanding of the hyperlocal impacts that tourism, when managed effectively, can have on communities.”

After his Solimar sustainable tourism internship, Jim landed a job working at Destinations International, the global trade association for Destination Marketing and Management Organizations. After nearly seven years with that organization, he moved over to the consulting world, and for the past three years has been working with destinations across North America to develop tourism master plans and other long-term strategies which balance sustainable visitor growth with the health and vibrancy of their communities.

“I believe that to be a leader in the tourism sector today is to be an architect of future economies, societies and possibilities. My goal is to work with the public and private sectors to make tourism a powerful driver of socio-economic progress in communities.”

If you are interested in learning about the work Jim is doing now, check out his LinkedIn!

Barbra Anderson, former Strategic Tourism Planning intern, current Founding Partner & Story Curator at Destination Better

Barbra Anderson, former Solimar Strategic Tourism Planning intern as a member of the sustainable tourism intern cohort, current Founding Partner & Story Curator at Destinnation Better

 

When asked why Barbra chose Solimar as her internship opportunity, she responded, “I had a mutual colleague who was kind enough to connect me to Chris. Barbra found Solimar while in a Master’s of Global Sustainability program at the University of South Florida, which required an internship. She was connected to the program from a mutual colleague that knew Chris Seek. Prior to earning a Master’s, Barbra had been in the travel industry most of her life working with various corporate firms such as Sabre, American Airlines, Hertz and Budget Rent-a-car. She left being the head of Global Corporate Responsibility for Sabre and went back to school full-time.”

After working in most segments of the travel industry, she was enlightened about sustainable tourism marketing by assisting with a once-in-a-lifetime project with the Royal Government of Bhutan.

While in the Master’s program, Barbra met her current business partner, teaming up to create a consulting firm, Destination Better. Since that time, they have partnered with companies as large as Fortune 10 to develop their ESG (environmental, social, and governance) strategies, communications, and reporting. Their clients are global and span several industries, including pharmaceutical distribution, banking, call centers/AI, commercial printing, food service, robotics, construction, and government organizations.  They also host an educational podcast, Creating Responsible Companies.

Barbra and her business partner plan to continue to build Destination Better by shifting from only a 1:1 consulting model to a 1:many model by offering masterminds, a membership, and online courses for ESG and sustainability professionals.

Barbra reflects on her time, “I have complete respect for Chris as an expert in this field and as a business leader. I can only imagine the number of students he has assisted in their careers, both inside Solimar and in his involvement with GW and local community organizations.”

If you are interested in learning about the work Barbra is doing now with Destination Better, check out her LinkedIn! 

Marina Lopes – Former Solimar destination marketing intern, current Solimar Project Assistant

a photo of Marina Lopes - Former Solimar destination marketing intern as a member of the sustainable tourism intern cohort, current Solimar Project Assistant

Marina chose Solimar because of the numerous opportunities to work within the sustainable tourism industry. Before applying, she looked on the website and found that many of the projects that Solimar was working on sparked her interest, and she thought it would be fascinating to collaborate on them. She was successful in applying to the sustainable tourism internship program.

During her undergraduate degree, Marina studied International Relations, but decided to switch to tourism for her master’s degree. She knew Solimar would be a perfect fit because she could gain experience in the new career field she was entering. She noted Solimar’s internship as a way of exploring options as to what to do after she finished school.

After completing her destination marketing internship, Marina was hired as a part-time project assistant at Solimar this fall. During her time in the internship, she got closer to some of the managers that recently invited her to come back and work in the position she is in now. Marina is grateful for all the opportunities Solimar has given her, especially when it comes to completing her masters. She says,

“It was also a delightful opportunity to start thinking about my master’s thesis through Solimar’s projects.”

She would like to keep working with sustainable tourism and development. In the future, she wants to be able to occupy a position where she can see the impact of her work in a destination or specific business.

If you are interested in connecting with Marina about her work, reach out to her on Linkedin!

Conclusion

We take great pride in the incredible interns who have worked hours per week with us nearly twenty years. Our internship program has evolved with technology, from an onsite internship program in our Washington D.C. office to completely remotely across five continents. Our former interns are involved in nearly every aspect of the tourism industry, from Destination CEOs to consultants to travel advisors, and more. We believe we offer the world’s coolest remote internship, in part because of our projects, but also thanks to the incredible intern peers you can learn from and collaborate with. Our interns have helped launch Solimar into its position as a leading tourism consulting firm.

We are now recruiting for our next sustainable tourism internship cohort. Apply today to join the team and gain real world experience in the intersection of international development and tourism: https://www.solimarinternational.com/who-we-are/join-our-team/internship-program/

By: Stephanie Gerson and Cate Enrooth

Solimar International Internship where are they now?

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.

What is World Tourism Day?

World Tourism Day is a day where professionals and organizations in the industry focus on a single topic that’s been designated by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). This year, the theme encourages tourism stakeholders to engage in practices of equality in growth. Tourism, as many other economic sectors, has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some estimate that around 4 trillion dollars could be lost in the global economy from the tourism industry alone. As countries fight to contain and move past variants of the virus and their implications, the tourism industry is setting their sights on recovery. 

For 2021, the UNWTO decided to emphasize that in this growth we must not forget the most vulnerable and underserved communities. Tourism for inclusive growth is an idea that promises a helping hand to the communities and people hurt most by actions of the past. 

When is this day celebrated and why?

Every year on 27th September. The UNWTO came up with the idea of World Tourism day in 1979. The first commemorative year was 1980, and the date was chosen to coincide with the adoption of UNWTO standards. Since then, it has been held on the anniversary of the adoption, September 27th, which marks the end of peak tourism season in the northern hemisphere, and the beginning of the peak in the southern hemisphere. 

Major themes from past years

A new theme is chosen carefully for this special day every year. The inaugural year held the theme: “Tourism’s contribution to the preservation of cultural heritage and peace and mutual understanding.” Tourism is a vessel for cultural preservation. This is done not only with economic incentives, but also through social interest and call for conservation. An example of this principle can be seen in Solimar’s 2017 work in Sri Lanka, where we helped diversify attractions and capacities in the area to help enrich the experiences for both tourists and citizens. 

The year 2000 focused on Chile, and the theme, “Tourism: preserving world heritage for the new millennium.” Here we get another hint of that first year’s cultural preservation, and with good reason! Chile has had a stressful recent history with political unrest and biological shocks that come with tourism entering untouched environments. Only through working towards the UN’s sustainable development goals, and holding an emphasis on biocultural conservation, can we have a chance at protecting this natural stronghold? Plenty of work is still yet to come. 

 

World Tourism Day’s 30th anniversary, 2020, explored the theme “Tourism and Rural Development.” The focus was on tourism’s ability to affect the economic sectors of communities around the world in outlying areas. That principle became especially significant following the COVID restrictions and social consequences that ensued. Rural areas gave weary travelers not only space to socially-distance themselves, but it also provided a much needed connection to the natural world after months of lock down in our homes.

Inclusive Growth in International Communities

Attention must be paid to bolstering and supporting smaller communities and destinations around the world that may not have the same level of stability as others. Social, cultural, and political aspects must be addressed to create inclusive societies through sustainable tourism. A fascinating commemoration of this day is Nepal reopening to foreign travel. Many people anticipate the country to relax restrictions and welcome tourists back to their majestic Himalayan landscapes. In the midst of a major border conflict with India, and having been hit hard by two lockdowns, Nepal looks forward to a chance of economic relief through an influx of foreign tourist dollars and cash flow. 

Celebrations of World Tourism Day 2021 

World Tourism Day in Opatija, Croatia 

A three-day World Tourism Day celebration took place in Opatija to commemorate the successful summer of tourism in the Kvarner Bay. Historical and cultural walks were organized through the city to offer an intimate view of Croatia’s past. The Tourist Board of Opatija also planned an array of events and concerts to promote the cultural, political, and economic values of tourism in Croatia. 

World Tourism Day in Abuja, Nigeria 

“36 Destinations Nigeria”, a tourism marketplace event, has been planned in line with World Tourism Day. The event is open to bloggers, tour guides, government officials, and other stakeholders. The aim is to widen Nigeria’s opportunities for all communities, and in line with this year’s theme, especially the communities that suffered most during COVID.

Future of Global Tourism Towards a Sustainable Future

Each year, the UNWTO attempts to find new important milestones in world tourism to celebrate. As aforesaid, the theme has continued to change and shift through the years, but the general ideas hold the same: 

  • Tourism is a tool to be used in the preservation of biocultural heritage around the world.
  • Tourism is an ever growing industry that, like others, needs to focus on sustainable practices to save special places, but and make tourists enjoy them all the more.
  • Tourism creates benefits that need to be felt equally among communities both big and small around the world.

UNWTO holds to their values of the 2030 agenda for sustainable tourism, by expecting that future growth places innovation and sustainability at the forefront of our thoughts as an industry. They even go as far as to say it will be our, “new normal”. With any hope, that will certainly hold to be true. 

Interested in learning more about local players in the tourism industry? Check out Solimar’s online courses on Destination Management Organizations (DMOs) and the roles they play. 

“We rely confidently on Solimar's deep technical experience and professionalism as tourism consultants. You always are exceeding our expectations.”
Leila Calnan, Senior Manager, Tourism Services Cardno Emerging Markets

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