Tourism is a complex service-driven global industry that is constantly evolving, and the skills and knowledge required to operate a tourism business are pertinent to its success. Solimar International has literally written the book on creating sustainable tourism enterprises and experiences through our proven methodology developed over our past 10 years of enterprise development experience. Our process brings businesses from concept to profitable enterprises that contribute to both conservation and communities. These tools have been primarily developed to target entrepreneurs with limited formal education and have been primarily used with poor communities in developing countries.
Tourism enterprises can have an incredible impact on their destination by creating jobs, contributing to GDP, bringing in new markets for goods and services, increasing an area’s visibility, all while protecting the local environment and preserving cultural heritage. Though, all of these benefits do not occur automatically, but must be properly integrated into the sustainable functioning of tourism enterprises. Solimar’s enterprise development approach has been used to develop and support more than 20 sustainable tourism enterprises—from Africa to Latin America—to maximize their triple bottom line of Profits-People-Planet.
What to Expect
- Tourism Assessment Concept Development: Developing sustainable tourism enterprises begins with an assessment that analyzes both supply and demand for tourism products and services that lead to well thought out and researched concepts that include a foundation of product ideas, market understanding and local feasibility. Starting from the concept stage, Solimar helps businesses evaluate their possible contributions to local communities and the surrounding environment.
- Business Planning: Solimar then turns the tourism assessment information and tourism product “concepts” into full-fledged business plans and tour packages. The business plans serve as a “road map” for moving forward with product development and take into account the conservation and development objectives and clearly articulates the resources needed to realize those goals. Solimar has assisted with or led the authoring of over 30 tourism business plans and has expertise in market analysis, competition analysis, strategic positioning and financial modeling for tourism SMEs.
- Operations Planning: While having a business plan is important, having a clear operations plan and trained operations manager will greatly increase the potential for business success. Solimar has extensive experience running operations training programs that take managers through all of the facets of running a tourism business including staffing, logistics, inventory, cash handling, financial reporting, customer service, leadership and more.
- Tour Planning and Guide Training: Local guides act as the “ambassadors” for their communities and destinations, and guided tours are a vital product that a tourism enterprise offers to enrich the visitor experience. Though it sounds simple, creating an engaging and well-delivered guided tour takes tedious planning and practice, practice, practice! Solimar helps develop interpretive tours and trains interpretive guides that focus on communicating central messages which help tourists learn, feel motivated and empowered to contribute to a more sustainable world.
- Sales and Marketing: Lack of an effective sales and marketing strategy will often lead an otherwise well planned and run business to failure. Many small tourism businesses lack the technological or financial capabilities to effectively market themselves to their target markets. Solimar helps equip small businesses with content, collaborative strategies and partnerships to increase their marketing reach and sales leads.