As a leading sustainable travel consulting and marketing firm, Solimar International engages with destinations and community leaders around the world to develop tourism-based initiatives focused on cultural, economic and environmental conservation. Our work in emerging countries has given us a unique opportunity to design strategic plans that empower local workforces and build destinations that are resilient to future crises, from Covid-19 to climate change.
The relationship between tourism and climate change is both complex and interconnected; while air travel accounts for approximately 2.5 percent of human-induced Co2 emissions, tourism also accounts for 1 in 10 jobs globally. From our work in remote wildlife safaris in Namibia to scuba dives along the most biodiverse reefs on earth in Timor-Leste, we have proven how each traveler to these destinations helps to fund conservation, provide alternative livelihoods, and ultimately protect the natural ecosystems that will be critical in the fight against climate change.
Tourism has the power to transform people into allies and advocates for nature, but as an industry, we must work together to ensure it achieves this goal. Solimar is committed to achieving this in all of our projects, including:
- Ataúro Island, Timor Leste: In conjunction with local residents, Solimar helped to support a new destination management organization and create a revitalized web-booking platform that brings the island’s residents to the forefront of its tourism structure and capitalizes on the domestic market in Dili, a short boat ride from the beautiful beaches of Ataúro. A reinvigorated tourism collective by locals and for locals has seen the shift in many livelihoods from destructive fishing practices to conservation initiatives. We are helping ensure that the world’s most biodiverse reefs stay that way.
- Southern Tanzania: Working with park affiliates and video teams based in-country, Solimar has developed a five-year master marketing strategy to help increase awareness of Southern Tanzania’s national parks (including their wildlife and natural settings) and cultural heritage offerings. Covid-19 has pushed us to be creative with these strategies, understand the important role citizens and residents play in conservation efforts and advocacy through domestic tourism.
- Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail: Utilizing the geo-tourism methodology and working alongside the National Park Service. Solimar built a digital forum that includes partnerships with 53 communities and more than 600 sites/attractions based along the Lewis and Clark Trail in the United States. This project will bring visitors into the heart of lesser-visited destinations inside the United States with a nod towards outdoor adventure and historical preservation.
- Trinidad and Tobago: Working with Tobago Tourism Authority, Solimar is helping to promote a “blue recovery” after the tourism shutdown through its management of the Sustainable Islands Platform. From mangrove and reef restoration to supporting sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, we are finding ways for tourism to empower the industries that will be essential to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
As the industry hits the reset button and reimagines its route towards a sustainable future, it is vital that all stakeholders are engaged in the climate change conversation. Be it a divemaster on Timor Leste’s Ataúro Island, a safari guide in Ruaha National Park in Southern Tanzania or a museum curator working alongside the National Park Service in the United States—the future of the industry upon which these jobs depend will be forever changed as the planet warms. Travelers have a responsibility to do all they can to mitigate this impact; organizations like Solimar have a duty to provide the tools necessary to achieve more resilient destinations that are empowered by regenerative travel celebrating and supporting local cultures and ecosystems.
- Developing a “Climate Emergency Plan” within the next 12 months, which lays out our intentions for reducing carbon emissions over the next decade.
- Delivering transparent, measurable, and increasing reductions in the total carbon emissions per customer arising from our operations and the travel services sold by us.
- Encouraging our suppliers and partners to make the same declaration, sharing best practice among peers.
- Advocating for change. We recognize the need for systemic change across the industry to
accelerate a just transition towards carbon-free tourism.
Each member of the Solimar team remains humbled at our good fortune that allows us to work at the forefront of tourism development, and we have made a commitment to utilizing this role to help guide the industry’s ecosphere towards a future that both minimizes the environmental impact of travel and tourism and empowers the destinations we work with to face our future together.