About the Institute for Sustainable Destinations

Created by Solimar International, the Institute for Sustainable Destinations exists to provide education, tools, and support to help tourism leaders drive sustainable development in their destination. After working in over 200 destinations over nearly 30 years, we want to use our knowledge to empower destination leaders across the globe. By sharing these skills and resources through our Destination Management and Marketing System, we can help deepen our impact and commitment to sustainable tourism and help build a future where tourism regenerates communities and ecosystems everywhere.

Our team brings together educators, policy experts, tourism practitioners, development consultants, conservationists, and thought-leaders from across the destination development space as our advisors, instructors, and community members.



Instructors & Advisors

Our team of instructors and advisors share a vast wealth of knowledge throughout our many courses. With decades of combined experience in tourism and destination development, our team provides expert instruction in a range of distinct topics, from targeted tourism marketing campaigns to sustainable marine tourism development. Learn more about our team below:

Dr. Donald Hawkins is an expert in tourism policy, strategic planning, workforce development and management education with 52 years of international experience. Don held the endowed Eisenhower Professor of Tourism Policy Chair at the George Washington University School of Business. In 2003, he received the first World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Ulysses Prize for individual accomplishments in the creation and dissemination of knowledge in the area of tourism policy and strategic management. In 2012, he was elected as Vice Chairman of the UNWT0 Affiliates Council and appointed as Special Advisor to the UNWTO Secretary General for the Knowledge Network. Don has consulted all over the world including North American, Caribbean, Latin American, European, African, Middle East, and Asia/Pacific Regions. His doctoral degree was in Park Management, awarded by New York University in 1967. He is credited with over 114 publications, including books, journal articles, monographs, project reports and educational materials
Based in Washington DC, Chris manages Solimar’s staff of more then 20 tourism professionals working in over 17 countries. Chris leads new business efforts, strategic partnerships, and ensures all of Solimar’s clients are able to connect to the tourism market.Over the last 12 years with Solimar, Chris has applied his professional background in marketing and corporate social responsibility with his own personal travel experiences (more then 50 countries) to design sustainable tourism development strategies that provide tangible results to both our clients and targeted beneficiaries. Prior to working in tourism, Chris worked as a marketing professional for Fortune 500 clients including Heineken, Sony, Perrier, GE, and others. Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Wake Forest University and a Masters of Business Administration from American University with concentrations in Sustainable Destination Management and Integrated Marketing Communications.

Dr. Dave Bucy is the team leader for most projects. His skills, expertise, and ability to work closely with clients and team members have taken him from the east coast to the west and overseas, providing planning and conceptual design services on projects from a local to national level.

  • NAI’s Certified Interpretive Planner Trainer
  • More than 35 years experience
  • Speaker and presenter at national and international conferences
  • Degrees in Communication Theory (PhD), Planning (MS) and Interpretation (BS)
  • Adjunct faculty at Western Oregon University teaching communication theory

Our Advisors

Our team of expert advisors span academia, industry, destination marketing, and private sector tour operators to provide a vast array of experience in providing technical support on our programs. Our team of advisors combine expertise in areas such as destination management and development, website & social media marketing, women in tourism, marine conservation, nature reserves and tourism, and world heritage sites. Read more below:

Since 2002, Jennifer has dedicated her professional life to supporting sustainable tourism efforts, including her current position as the President of Visit Park City and previously overseeing all aspects of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau, Visitor Center, Film Office, and the RunSedona event. Ms. Wesselhoff is credited with developing and executing the first Sustainable Tourism Plan in Arizona, which has served as a model for sustainable tourism development in the United States and has been recognized by the ArizonaOffice of Tourism and US Travel Association. Ms. Wesselhoff possesses a Bachelor’s degree in French and a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Miami University.She completed her Certified Destination Management Executive certification withDestination Marketing Association International. She recently served as a guest lecturer for the Sustainable Destination Management certificate course at George Washington University.
Chloe King is a PADI Divemaster and avid ocean advocate, leading marine research projects in Indonesia and Timor-Leste as a Boren Scholar, Projects for Peace Fellow, and Fulbright Scholar. Adopting tools from political ecology, behavioral economics, and marine science, her work analyzes the ways in which sustainable tourism development can be utilized to achieve long-term marine conservation goals. As a 2019-20 Fulbright Scholar, she spent a year in Wakatobi National Park in Indonesia analyzing how tourism can help improve the resilience and adaptive capacity of local ecosystems and communities in response to crises like climate change and Covid-19.
Derek Schimmel has a passion for storytelling as a means of building tourism marketing experiences. He has worked as a consultant to various government ministries and tourism operators in creating new product development strategies, focusing primarily on community-based tourism. Along with his work in sustainable tourism, Derek utilizes his five-plus years experience in digital marketing to educate and assist destinations in the various methods of building an effective online strategy. He has visited over 50 countries, traveling both professionally and leisurely, and has garnered an innate ability to communicate, consult and interact with local people and tourism operators across the globe.
Natalie Sellier has over fifteen years of professional experience in finance, accounting, business planning and project management. Natalie originally joined Solimar in 2007, utilizing her business background and passion for travel to assist small tourism enterprises and destination management organizations achieve financial sustainability by way of strategic business planning, public-private partnerships, and market linkages. As Chief Operating Officer, Natalie has assumed leadership over Solimar’s internal operations, oversees contracting and financial management, and assists technical staff achieve programmatic objectives. Natalie brings technical expertise through her involvement in the implementation of over 100 technical programs and is well-versed in the intricacies of both federal and donor contracting and cost accounting standards.
Jenny Lundt was born and raised in the lesser known gem of Idaho, she has spent her life dealing with the intricacies of tourism and marketing as non Idahoans have made her bear the brunt of thousands of potato jokes, not understanding the stunning landscapes of the Rocky Mountains that exist right at her doorstep. She fell in love with traveling at a young age and has since had the privilege of visiting 81 countries spanning 6 continents including many long term immersive experiences: five months each in Morocco, Thailand, and Nepal; over two months each in Jordan, Brazil, Timor-Leste, and Indonesia; and spent over a month in Ecuador, Italy, and Romania. She has a passion for social media, development work, marketing, improving livelihoods, visiting lesser known destinations.
Caecilia He is a cultural and heritage tourism lover, who deeply fell in love with travelling at a very young age. As a backpacker, she visited South Korea, China, Myanmar, Hongkong, Himalaya Tibet region, India, Morocco, USA, Canada, Spain and other less popular destinations. Caecilia was born in China and was grown up in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She started her career in tourism more than 10 years ago as a tour guide while studying at McGill University. She has 10 years of experience in tourism operation, and tourism consulting between China and East Coast of Canada. Caecilia has BA with Major in Accounting from McGill University and a current student at Master in Tourism Administration program from The George Washington University with a major in sustainable destination management. And her true passion is to help cultural heritage destinations around the world to be developed in a sustainable way.

Join the Community

We are a global community committed to making a difference in our destinations. Let us help you make a difference in yours.

We are always on the lookout for advisors, instructors, industry partners, professionals, and students to join our team. Whether you are interested in teaching a course or just being part of the conversation, we want to hear from you. Fill out the form below: