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Best Practices voor een duurzame toekomst
15 oktober 2005

New Dutch investment fund for Dream Holidays

COOLRegion is a product of Gyelloba, a company promoting sustainable tourism, and Applied Plant Research (PPO, of the Wageningen University and Research Centre), specialized in 'green' solutions. They are creating a chain of healthy lifestyle lodges, currently in Uganda and Surinam, that generate an income for the local population and respect the tropical surroundings. Marije van Zomeren, director strategic sustainable business development: "COOLRegion has a holistic approach. Our development plans are based on a long-term vision of the people living in the area, generated during workshops. We do not target separate entities, but a whole region. This results into a series of projects, both commercial and not-for-profit, in which COOLRegion can invest." Projects are directed at setting up small and medium enterprises, growing more diversified crops, providing better health care, protecting biodiversity and finding ways for sustainable energy. New entrepreneurs are assisted with making their business plans and vocational training. Marije van Zomeren: "COOLRegion will invest in all these small and larger companies that arise around our lodges." The lodges, three locations in Uganda and one in Surinam, are exploited by the company Mauroo. In November a new lodge will be opened in the Ugandan Mabira Forest, a vast tropical rainforest, endangered by human activity. Here tourism will have to provide for alternative sources of income for the local population, at the same time protecting nature. Companies and private persons can not only contribute by buying shares, but also by tying up with the local people who perform the projects. And of course, they can spend some time in a lodge, watching birds, monkeys, butterflies and fireflies. P+ Webtip: Mauroo