Solimar International has been involved with the Colombia BIOREDD Project since 2012. We began by conducting a tourism assessment of Nuquí, which is located in El Chocó region of Colombia, and have been improving the tourism marketing of Nuquí/Utría National Park, as well as improving the business management capacity of key tourism operators in and around the park.
Where is Chocó and why visit?
The Chocó region of Colombia is the most rainy region in South America and the second rainiest in the world, providing the area with a lush and verdant landscape. Chocó enjoys warm weather all year round, however, the best time to visit the region is between June and September.
El Chocó has coasts on both the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean and is home to Afro Colombian culture as well as to indigenous communities. Along the Pacific coast, you can find towns such as Nuquí, Bahia Solano, and Quibdó surrounded by ecotourism initiatives.
Although this region is the poorest in Colombia, the people of El Chocó are friendly and welcoming. Local communities in Nuquí and its surroundings offer diverse services to their guests from all over the world and are ready to make their stay unforgettable. Chocó provides an amazing opportunity to disconnect from the world. Its draw for nature lovers is unmatched, as a paradise full of plant and animal life.
The summer is a particularly special time to visit, as it is whale-watching season in Chocó! You can see the beautiful humpback whales and their calves on their way to the warm equatorial waters.
How is Solimar supporting El Chocó?
Solimar International has set two main objectives in this project:
- To improve business management of the targeted community tourism organizations in the Nuquí/Utría National Park area
- Improve Marketing of Nuquí/Utría National Park’s tourism sector and increase tourism sales
What has Solimar done so far?
- Created a marketing alliance; including a strategic partnership Palenque Tours, a German-Colombian tour operator outside of Nuqui; and developed and implemented a business plan for the alliance.
- Lead a 4-month Tourism Operations and Management training course for members of each of the 4 community tourism organizations and 2 individuals from Utria National Park.
- Assisted the four community tourism organizations in the development of operations manuals and implemented all administrative procedures and logistics outlined in the operations manual, effectively putting them into practice for day-to-day operations.
- With the input of relevant stakeholders, developed and implemented the region’s marketing & sales strategy using the latest web and social media tools.
- Conducted a branding workshop with local stakeholders to update the current Nuquí Pacífico brand messaging strategy.
- Held meetings with key staff from the Ministry to introduce project and carried out a public launch event in Bogotá for the revised destination website, brand, and tourism marketing alliance.
- Worked with the Municipality of Nuqui to promote the adoption of sustainable tourism criteria into the Territorial Planning Scheme and establish a Tourism Board.
Most recently, Lucia Prinz, Solimar’s Product Development and Training Specialist, and Chris Seek, Solimar’s CEO, traveled to Bogota to attend a launch event for this project. We helped organize the event, connected with government programs that support community tourism, and reached out to national media, and tour operators.