Passion for travel has been in Willem’s blood since a young age. Being Dutch, his first explorations in Europe were by bicycle. His professional career in the travel industry started selling airline tickets at a student travel organization in the 1980s. He moved to Thailand in 1987, during “Visit Thailand Year” to further his career in the travel industry.
An intrepid entrepreneur, Willem founded Khiri Travel in a small room of a Bangkok shophouse in 1993. Twenty-eight years later, Khiri Travel operates in eight countries with 18 offices across Asia. More than 240 Khiri staff welcome 30,000 visitors a year to the region.
In 2007, Khiri Travel created a charity organization, Khiri Reach. It ensures that 100% of donations go to its projects.
Willem took his first foray in ecolodge development in 1999, when he founded Tad Fane Resort at a breathtaking location in Southern Laos. In 2015 he conceptualized and developed Anurak Lodge in the South of Thailand, and in 2018 Cardamom Tented Camp, both of which are award-winning eco-lodges and part of the current portfolio.
Willem co-founded YAANA Ventures in 2016 with a vision to grow sustainable hospitality brands in Asia and beyond, committed to the triple bottom line: People, Planet and Profit.
YAANA Ventures recently helped pioneer HMP Master, an industry-transforming, cloud-based 360°solution for managing hotels, serviced apartments, and long-term resident rentals.
Willem has bold plans for expansion in the sustainable hospitality sector by launching Visama Lodges. The new brand will provide turn-key solutions for developing luxury tented camps in remote parts of Southeast Asia.
Willem resides in Bangkok with his family and is fluent in Dutch, English, and Thai.