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Best Practices voor een duurzame toekomst
17 juni 2006

Dutch travel agency plunges tourists in development projects

The concept for this kind of 'sustainable tourism' derives from the creative minds of Niels Koldewijn and Dionne Dijkman. Two Dutch social entrepreneurs, as they like to call themselves. With their travel agency, that started about a year ago with organizing tours for both groups and individuals, they aim to add the P of Pleasure to People, Planet and Profit. Not only do travellers work during their holidays, part of their holiday expenses goes to the FairGroundFoundation, that finances development projects.
Niels Koldewijn, coming from the media and marketing business, has personally selected the projects that are supported by FairGroundSessions: "I visited the projects and did some voluntary work myself, in order to feel the gist of the organisation. Some of our criteria are that the project should not be a one-man-show, nor should it be dependent for its continuity on our contributions."
Asked why FairGroundSessions does not rely on projects, run or supported by established Dutch NGOs, he replies: "We wanted to pick the projects ourselves, in order to have a direct influence. But we also support two projects of the Dutch organisation for development cooperation ICCO. And ICCO doubles the amount of money we donate to our projects."
The projects are situated in Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa, soon to be followed by Peru. Niels Koldewijn: "In the north of Peru we are in touch with ecological farmers who are exploiting ecolodges for sustainable tourism. Our guests will work with the farmers on their land, but will also run English classes for pupils who are preparing for higher education."
Another branch of FairGroundSessions is organizing business events. Niels Koldewijn: "Corporate Social responsibility is sharply on the rise. With special events, dedicated to our projects, we submerge the employees in the culture of a certain country. And again, part of the money goes to our projects."

P+ Webtip: Fairgroundsessions