A former Tui Travel executive claimed a volunteering project in Costa Rica run by the company “unwittingly probably did more damage than good”.

Tim Williamson, ex-Tui customer director, has set up Development Squared, a venture combining training, leadership and mentoring for businesses in the UK and Swaziland.

He said the rationale behind the business was shaped by past experiences, including volunteering with Tui in Costa Rica.

Williamson, who left Ireland-based Travel Department in January, co-founded Development Squared having spent time volunteering in the southern African nation after his departure from Tui.

Speaking about his time in Costa Rica with Tui a few years ago, where new rooms were built for an eco-lodge, he said: “When it came down to it we were taking work away from builders there who would have done a much better job and they didn’t really even need the new rooms. What they actually needed was for Tui to bring more business to their country.

“Tui’s intentions were all good, but sometimes with these types of volunteering the company benefits more than the local people.”

His new venture aims to create partnerships between businesses of any sector in the UK and Swaziland where they can learn from one another. UK businesses will have the chance to travel to Swaziland to meet their partner. The first course, which costs £2,000 excluding flights, will run in November.