Chris Seek is a sustainable tourism planning, product development, and marketing specialist who partners with conservation organizations, economic development agencies, and tourism organizations to harness the power of the world’s largest industry to support biodiversity conservation, cultural heritage preservation, and the well-being of local residents. With more than 20 years of experience, Chris brings a global perspective from traveling and working in 75 countries and strong relationships with international travel trade and media that are eager to support the next undiscovered destination.
Chris is the president and CEO of Solimar International, one of the world’s leading sustainable tourism development firms that has implemented over 135 projects totaling $22 million over the last 12 years. Based in Washington DC, but frequently on the road, Chris manages Solimar’s team of tourism professionals who have supported more than 5,000 small and medium tourism enterprises with business planning, product development, market research, branding, Internet marketing, travel trade linkages, public-private partnerships, and investment promotion. 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. Over the years Chris has also developed over 20 national and regional tourism strategies including most recently the national tourism strategies for the Cayman Islands, the country of Georgia, and the Shire River Basin in Malawi.
In addition to his work at Solimar, Chris is an executive in residence and adjunct 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 the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia and is an 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.