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Hostels in the not so distant future


Pete Edwards, Samesun Hostels
Carlos Felipe Santos, Viajero Hostels
Kim Whitaker, Once Youth Hotels
Yaron Burgin, Abraham Hostels


Russ Hedge
Chairman of the Management Board
WYSE Travel Confederation

Social distance is the exact opposite of what hostels do best, so what will the hostel experience be like in our COVID-19 world? This panel of hostel operators will share plans for how they are altering their properties and practices to comply with physical distancing requirements. They’ll also discuss creating standards for hostels to ensure the health and safety of guests and workers.

Pete Edwards

Director of Sales

Samesun Hostels
Pete Edwards is Director of Sales for Samesun Hostels, a group of hostels located in Canada and the USA. Having been with Samesun for more than a decade, Pete has been instrumental in the company’s growth and is deeply committed to the ethos of backpacker hostels and aligning the Samesun brand with friendly, international, welcoming environments for mindful travellers. He is an avid traveler living in Vancouver, Canada and regularly speaks at events for the youth travel accommodation sector.

Samesun currently operates five hostels in North America, including locations in Vancouver, Venice Beach and Montreal. Samesun’s goal is to offer safe and social experiences for guests through a wide selection of activities and their onsite pubs.

Kim Whitaker


Once Youth Hotels

Kim started her first tourism business age 23, inspired by a year of living and working around the world. In 2013, Kim co-founded “Once in Cape Town” (Cape Town, South Africa) with a dynamic team, and grew the Poshtel/ Youth Hotel concept from strength to strength.  In 2016, the team went on to open the second property (Once in Joburg) in Johannesburg, in the vibrant inner-city Braamfontein area.

Once Youth Hotels are bustling youth hubs, where, by clever design, strategic partnerships with local businesses and hiring the right “Ateam” (staff who encapsulate the “Once” ethos and spirit), guests can experience contemporary Africa. Once in Cape Town recently passed the Fairtrade in tourism grading with 100%, which recognizes that the business operates in a way that is mutually respectful, fair and transparent.

Kim is current CEO of Once Youth Hotels and is passionate about entrepreneurship, leadership and growing the Once Youth Hotel brand into the African continent. Kim’s many personal entrepreneurship awards include the Investec “YoungTreps” (2014), Sanlam EOY, Emerging Entrepreneur winner (2015), Mzansi Top 100 Young Independents (2016), and Premiers Award for Entrepreneurship Tourism winner (2016).