NHL Stenden Tourism students win global United Nations battle

Voorbeeld campagne

Sustainable plan for UNESCO World Heritage Site Society of Humanitarianism gets high recognition

Students from NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences have been announced winners of the United Nation's UNWTO Students League competition. The Tourism Management students developed a sustainable tourism plan for the UNESCO site and former Colonies of the Society of Humanitarianism where poor families, beggars and the homeless were taken to work and live. The grand prize was presented on Thursday 30 September by Zurab Pololikashvili, UN Secretary General. A total of 65 universities and universities of applied sciences from around the world took part in the challenge to develop a tourism plan for a rural development. The NHL Stenden team, made up of five third year Tourism Management students, was the only European team selected for the finals.   

Anoeska Top, Tourism Management student and team captain said, “What a great experience. We learnt so much about Veenhuizen and the huge impact tourism has on society, and this recognition from the UN and Veenhuizen is like the icing on the cake.”

Veenhuizen: responsible tourism

The tourism students developed a campaign to increase the awareness of Veenhuizen which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2021. The plan focuses on how Veenhuizen can be used as a rural and tourist destination so as to raise the quality of life for local residents as a way of contributing to the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Investing in a community with local, sustainable food production and then selling the produce through local restaurants and shops, would encourage and raise responsible consumption, in turn making Veenhuizen a resilient tourist destination that attracts sustainably aware tourists.   

Recognising 1 million descendants

In addition, the students came up with a storyline using interactive and digital media to tell the unique histories of past and present residents. It also looks at how about one million Dutch are descendants of the 100,000 so-called paupers that were placed in the Colonies of the Society of Humanitarianism for rehabilitation. The campaign therefore helps to raise awareness of this history amongst the Dutch.