Solimar International – I am fortunate to be their intern

After years of working in a variety of roles in the travel industry and in sustainability, I returned to grad school to study sustainable tourism. One exciting requirement of the graduate degree is an internship.

For my internship I have the privilege to work with one of the world’s top sustainable tourism consulting firms, Solimar International. Solimar is a tourism development and marketing firm that Solimar logobelieves in the transformative power of sustainable tourism. Their integrated, market-oriented tourism solutions are designed to grow economies, enhance livelihoods, celebrate cultures, and conserve natural resources. Their work on 80+ programs has taken them to more than 200 destinations around the world for over a dozen years to support global development through sustainable tourism.

Solimar is based in Washington, D.C. and has strategic alliances with such impressive partners such as The National Geographic Society, The Smithsonian Institution, and the UN World Tourism Organization. Providing end-to-end solutions, their clients include The World Bank, USAID, WWF, The Walton Family Foundation, and governments and ministries of tourism around the world.

Their accomplishments are impressive:

Solimar impact

The founder, president and CEO of Solimar is Chris Seek – a high-energy, highly-regarded, passionate and driven professional. I started my internship in early May, after Chris identified several projects that matched my interests and background, but that also provided an opportunity to learn and add value to Solimar. Prior to traveling to their office in Washington, I conducted a significant amount of research on each of the projects.

Chris and the Solimar team welcomed me in Washington and were generous in their explanations of the projects. We focused on a top priority, working with The World Bank to implement Bhutan’s draft Heritage Sites Bill.

Bhutan countryside. Credit:
Bhutan countryside. Credit:

About Bhutan: The small country of Bhutan is a mystically intriguing kingdom in the Himalayas, nestled between India and China. In part to guard its precious ancient traditions, the country was completely cut off to outsiders until the 1970s. Bhutan’s breathtaking scenery, and deep cultural ancient Buddhist traditions, make it an intriguing tourist destination. Bhutan is now facing unprecedented challenges related to economic liberalization, bringing an inflow of modern influences and materialistic aspirations.  

About the project: The draft Heritage Sites Bill is an effort to safeguard the country’s national cultural landscape and identity across generations. The primary goal of the project is to identify and prioritize cultural heritage sites for the Royal Government of Bhutan using an asset-based approach to conserve cultural landscape, improve living conditions and create economic opportunities.

I am very excited about engaging with Solimar, and working on the Bhutan project. I will post more about this project, and my involvement, as it progresses.


  1. Barbra, what an exciting opportunity! it sounds like you were able to dive right into the pool of knowledge regarding your case, and you have a great team to work with. Its important, as tourism grows, that we reach these unique and less traveled areas before they begin to see too many visitors. Plans to protect their most precious sites should be implemented before the world discovers its beauty- and with some proper management, it can create economic activity for the locals without jeopardizing the environment or their traditions and culture. This is a very interesting opportunity, and I am looking forward to hearing more about your experience!

  2. Barb, I don’t think that you are fortunate. Instead, I think that you totally earned this opportunity.

  3. You’re definitely not fortunate! All the hard-work is paying off! Cant wait to see where your new experiences leads you next!

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