As Earth Day took place this week, it's only natural to think about how tourism is used to support conservation. When done sustainably, tourism serves as a powerful tool to support conservation of the ecosystems upon which it depends. In this spirit, Solimar has collaborated with a large number of hotels, tour operators and destinations to help them create a tourism product that supports conservation. Here's a lot at five of those destinations:
Recently, Solimar received a request from the government of Bhutan to help implement cultural heritage projects in the country's villages. When developed correctly, cultural heritage products can increase revenue to rural villages that can directly support cultural heritage preservation. During the project, which runs until August 2015, Solimar is conducting a comprehensive assessment of the tourism potential of Bhutan's villages and prepare a report which includes information about which villages have the greatest potential for tourism development. Culture-based tourism products will be developed by the creation of profitable enterprises and visitor experiences that enhance cultural preservation and communities.
Solimar has also been contracted to create a master plan for conservation for conservation tourism development in southern Tanzania. Southern Tanzania is home to most of the country's elephants, making it a lucrative tourist destination, although it is relatively undiscovered. The development of sustainable tourism in southern Tanzania is likely to raise revenue for conservation while discouraging poaching and forest degradation that pose a threat to the region.
Solimar is conducting a field assessment of tourism circuits, issues and opportunities in the region and examining the potential impact of tourism on conservation. Following the assessment, a master plan containing analysis and recommendations will be submitted that should result in the development of conservation-friendly tourism in southern Tanzania.
A long running project, Solimar is collaborating with the National Geographic Society Maps Division to implement a sustainable destination program in the Verde Valley. The project includes developing a Vision, Strategy, and Action Plan for Sustainable Tourism Development to be realized through public engagement. Solimar is also creating - with the Sedona Verde Valley Tourism Council - a Destination Marketing and Branding Strategy, which focuses on sustainable tourism, river conservation and the region's culture. The project is anticipated to create greater community involvement in conservation and sustainable tourism development efforts.
Recently, Solimar developed a business plan that detailed a strategy for how tourism can directly enhance the conservation of the Peak Regional Park in Colombia. The park was seeking new ideas on how to involve local communities and organizations working within the park as well as create sustainable income through tourism. Solimar conducted a thorough tourism assessment to gather an understanding of current and potential attractions, market demand and tourism infrastructure. Solimar also collaborated with local tourism stakeholders to raise more funds for conservation and tourism projects that will enhance the visitor experience.
Solimar performed capacity assessments of the impacts of tourism on two marine protected areas in Mauritius as degradation and resource depletion with Balaclava and Blue Bay Marine Parks have become serious problems. The assessment utilized tourism conservation models to create a series of recommendations supporting tourism development in the two parks. After completing tasks such as providing technical training in conversation and sustainable tourism management in addition to developing online media and orientation videos to increase awareness of the parks' codes of conduct, the two marine protected areas benefited from improved tourism and conservation management systems as well as a greater awareness of biodiversity's importance to tourism and the overall economy.
These are just a few of the projects Solimar has implemented that focus on conservation. However, we believe in sustainable tourism and it permeates every project we do.
For more information about a business approach to conservation, click here.
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