Belgian Tourism Arm Pilots Generative News
Belgian Tourism Arm Pilots Generative News
The Holiday Participation Centre of the governmental department of Tourism in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking region in Belgium, is investing in bringing up the very best in their network — using a new type of journalism.
Axiomnieuws Belgium, a new organization inspired by Canadian firm Axiom News, is diving into the centre’s network and providing a constant stream of generative news. With this news project, the initiators hope to encourage connections between all partners in the network, with the aim to develop their mission together.
|Photo by Iwan Goyvaerts, a Belgian resident who has benefited from the Holiday Participation Centre's efforts.|
Within Tourism Flanders, the Holiday Participation Centre works on initiatives to ensure the right to vacation for every inhabitant of the region. The centre believes in the positive effects of holidays. Research shows that vacations promote health, strengthen family ties and help social networks to grow. After a holiday, people are more positive in life and feel more confident. However, 17 per cent of Flemish inhabitants cannot even afford a week's holiday.
Together with the tourism sector, the centre works hard to make the adventure of a holiday accessible to people in poverty. If these people book their leave at the centre, the tourism partners give them a significant discount to join events, rent accommodation and participate at holiday camps. The centre collaborates with more than 1,200 social organizations in the region to do this. Last year, 105,000 people were able to take a vacation or outing thanks to the efforts of the Holiday Participation Centre.
The Holiday Participation Centre has been described as a magical movement, full of stories of people who experiment with new activities and ideas. There are so many inspiring and inspired people to learn from.
“The social organizations, industry professionals and our team itself are all dependent on each other to ensure the right to holiday for people in poverty,” says centre co-ordinator Marianne Schapmans.
“I am often really surprised by all the creativity in our network. So many coaches, clubs, social organizations and entrepreneurs make considerable efforts on a daily basis, to ensure the joy of holidays for children, youngsters and families.'
The centre wants to bring all these treasures into the light, and has tasked Axiomnieuws with searching for news and stories in the network and bringing them together on the platform www.nieuwsvakantieparticipatie.be. By telling the stories of the ideas, actions and results, day by day, the partners in the network can build their common future on strengths that are already present today.
Tourism Flanders CEO Peter De Wilde says this news project deserves all chances. “(One person’s) is inspiring to other people. Others listen to the story and feel inspired. You discover opportunities to collaborate with others. Exchanging stories makes people feel they are not alone with their hopes and difficulties. By sharing their stories, people start to experience themselves as a part of the whole. Eventually that delivers stronger results for more people,” he says.
Follow what is happening on the news platform, on Facebook, and using the Twitter handle @vakpart.
A book with pictures and text in English, Because Holidays are For Everyone, is available at the Holiday Participation Centre. E-mail vakantieparticipatie(at)toerismevlaanderen.be
This article is translated and reposted from Axiomnieuws Belgium with permission.
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During preparations for the 5th Appreciative Inquiry World Conference, held in Belgium in 2012, Griet Bouwen bounced into the work of Axiom News and recognized her mission in its vision, themes and tone of voice.
This encounter, and the friendships that came out of it, led her to start up her own generative news agency in Belgium in 2013. Her small organization is called ‘Nieuwmakers’ (new makers) — because working with generative stories creates the capacity to see our world with new eyes, to spark new conversations, to make things new.
She experiences every day that asset-based, “appreciatively inquiring” stories do contribute to the development of organizations and the society in the direction we hope for. Since words create worlds, telling stories about peoples' hopes, actions and resources is already making a change, she says.
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