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Sector Panel Candidates

Accommodation Sector Panel Candidates: 

Alexander Rivers
Managing Director
Astor Hostels

“My name is Alexander Rivers and I am Managing Director of Astor Hostels, the oldest independent youth hostel group in London, started by my family in 1974, and run by me since 2012.  I have spent my life growing up around people working in the youth hostel and hotel business, first working on reception at 14 years old and later in the bar and restaurant.  I have an immense passion both for travel and for hospitality, and believe sincerely in the power of youth travel to change lives, build long lasting relationships and open the mind.

Accommodation is one of the most important aspects for any traveller visiting a new place in this world.  If elected to the panel, I will champion the youth hostel industry and youth and student accommodation, striving for higher standards and a better level of service for everyone.”


Kim Whitaker
Co Founder
Once in Cape Town

Kim Whitaker is the CEO and co-founder of Once Youth Hotels in South Africa. Having started her own Backpackers at age 23, and moved onto co-founding far larger properties, Kim has an overview of how to manage and run an accommodation business from grass roots, to a corporate level. Being a German native living in South Africa, Kim speaks multiple languages and understands the European and African accommodation market implicitly. Kim studied marketing, and she would use this to define new strategies and opportunities for the Global Youth Accommodation sector in the ever-increasing competitive “hotel moving into the millennial” space. Kim would also use her international travel contacts to encourage more members to join WYSE and contribute towards the global youth travel industry. Lastly, if voted onto the advisory panel, Kim would take over the responsibility of official wine sponsor, with her families hand-made South African wine.


Alistair McLean
Hostelling International Canada

“Over the years, I have served on many tourism related boards promoting communities and regions of Canada and have spent nearly my whole career in the tourism accommodation industry. Most recently I chaired the Youth Travel Advisory Council for Destinations Canada, and have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the different boards and wish to continue to serve this great industry on an international level.
As CEO & CED Chair of Hostelling International Canada I feel I will bring another perspective to the Accommodation Advisory Council. There have been many changes in the past few years to the WYSE structure, global travel and expectations of travellers and we need to keep abreast of these changes and work with the necessary government and industry associations to serve our members. There will challenges, but I am excited about WYSE over the next few years and would like the opportunity to work with the Accommodation advisory panel and WYSE to help guide the organisation forward.”


Adam Harris
Founder & CEO

Adam Harris is a pioneer of the hospitality industry, particularly the youth accommodation sector. After graduating from the University of California Berkeley, he worked in both the hospitality and finance industries where he formed a unique mindset. His career has taken him everywhere from Wall Street to the most remote corners of the planet. Adam has traveled to more than 48 countries and knows that independent properties have specific needs.

For the past 3 years, he and his team at Cloudbeds have built the largest technology software for the youth travel industry. Cloudbeds is all about empowering properties to compete against the big guys, no matter their size. Today Cloudbeds powers more than 17,000 properties in 120 countries.

As the youth travel space grows, they’ll need the tools and leadership to support them. Adam and Cloudbeds are paving the way to do just that.


Martyn Milford
Global Sales & Marketing Director – Europe
Sydell Group

Since beginning his career in the accommodation sector over 15 years ago, Martyn has worked for many of the worlds leading accommodation providers. Having travelled extensively for both work and fun, Martyn has wide-ranging experience as a guest in all types of accommodation many of which have been hostels.

In 2016 Martyns passion for hostels drove his move to work in the hostel industry as head of global sales for Generator. Since joining, Martyn has worked collaboratively with many partners in the youth travel industry and has spoken at ITB on the subject of festival and music related travel.

As a millennial himself, Martyn is well positioned to understand the needs and speak with the voice of our target customer. This coupled with his professional experience of collaborating with and selling to this customer type allow him to bring a unique perspective to the youth accommodation sector panel.


Cultural Exchange Sector Panel Candidates: 

Lawrence Walsh:
Chief Operating Officer

“Having joined Invasion Camp Group 3 years ago I have been on a whirlwind journey through all aspects of the business; from running our weekend breaks brand to now being heavily involved in our Cultural Exchange partnerships, overseeing the R&D of our up and coming products and advising on how best to move forwards with our American Summer Camp brand, despite the issues currently being faced in the sector.  This experience in many different micro-sectors has equipped me to be able to advise on any issues being faced in the world of Cultural Exchange.

Perhaps my strongest (albeit, coincidental) asset is that I am a “millennial” myself, meaning that not only am I on top of the way the industry is moving from a business perspective, but I am also at the heart of the issues currently being tackled and am witnessing the trends that are developing first hand.”


Study Abroad Sector Panel Candidates:

John Cedergardh
Vice President
STS Education

John has held senior management positions within the industry for more than ten years and lived in four different countries during that time. In recent years he was based in London as COO for the UK based English Language school chain Stafford House which is part of Cambridge Education Group. He has recently moved to his home country Sweden and is taking over as CEO for international education group STS, who offers language education, high school programs, study abroad and au pair experiences from its 15 own offices located across Europe. John studied at the University of Gothenburg and has had semesters abroad in Innsbruck, Austria and the University of North Florida, USA. As a passionate traveler and an experienced industry professional John is keen to participate in further developing the work that is carried out within the sector and within WYSE travel.


Andrew Procter
African Impact

I joined African Impact 10 years ago after developing leadership, service and coaching skills as a senior manager in the retail industry in UK. My passion for the Youth Travel industry was formed when I spent a year travelling across the southern hemisphere working alongside international students on various service projects. Through this experience I witnessed the value of how this type of travel can change the lives and outlook for young people.

Now as the Managing Director of the most successful Social Enterprise in Africa, I am in a great position to work with universities, sender organisations, local faculty, local communities and conservation initiatives to create fantastic experiences for students. I want to bring my lessons learned over the years to the Advisory panel to increase the effectiveness and impact across all aspects of Studying Abroad from international students all the way through to the local communities and eco systems.