CEO at Solimar International
Washington, DC, United States
Chris Seek is a sustainable tourism and marketing specialist with over 20 years’ experience assisting conservation organizations, economic development agencies, and tourism organizations harness the power of the world’s largest industry to support biodiversity conservation, cultural heritage preservation, and the well-being of local residents.
Chris is the CEO of Solimar International, one of the world’s leading sustainable tourism development firms that has implemented over 135 projects totaling $23 million over the last 18 years. Based in Washington DC, Chris manages Solimar’s team of tourism professionals who have supported more than 500 destinations and 7,000 small and medium tourism enterprises with tourism planning, product development, market research, branding, Internet marketing, travel trade linkages, public private partnerships, investment promotion, resource conservation, and sustainable tourism management practices.
Chris is an expert in tourism development and marketing planning, using his extensive group facilitation experience to help tourism and heritage stakeholders identify and agree on a common vision and actions required to develop and implement sustainable tourism plans. Over the last 5 years, Chris has developed over 20 national and regional tourism strategies including most recently the national tourism strategies for the Cayman Islands, and the country of Georgia.
In 2008, Chris served as the team leader to create the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria bringing together a coalition of leading tourism companies, NGOs, and UN agencies to create the world’s first globally recognized standard for sustainable tourism. Chris also helped the Namibia Tourism Board create a new online marketing department and implement a 5-year, $5 Million marketing campaign to introduce Namibia to the North American market. The highlight of this campaign was helping Namibia host the first Adventure Travel World Summit in Africa, bringing over 750 of the world’s leading adventure tourism companies and journalists to Namibia.
In addition to his work at Solimar, Chris is an executive in residence and assistant professor at George Washington University where he teaches courses on tourism marketing, sustainable tourism enterprise development, and investment and finance for sustainable tourism projects. Chris also owns the Inn at Meander Plantation, a 10-bedroom luxury bed and breakfast in Virginia and is active member of the local tourism associations and destination management organizations around the business. Prior to working in tourism, Chris was as a marketing professional for Fortune 500 clients including Heineken, Perrier, Sony, General Electric, and others. Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Wake Forest University and a Master of Business Administration from American University with concentrations in Marketing and Sustainable Destination Management.