Kim Whitaker is a youth travel professional, and proud “hostelier.” She opened her first youth tourism business at age 23, after
returning from a year abroad passionate about youth travel. Fast forward a few years, Kim has gone on to co-found award-winning “Once in Cape Town” and “Once in Joburg,” bustling youth hubs in Cape Town and Johannesburg where young people can sleep in either hotel-style or 4-bed dorm rooms. With a motto of “clean sheets and dirty adventures,” Once youth hotels offer clean and affordable accommodation hubs to millennial travelers in central locations, from which they can venture into the city and beyond to explore. From festival roadtrips, to intimate dinners in local houses, Once Travel curates memorable experiences for the millennial traveler. In 2018 Kim co-founded Khwela Youth Tourism Stars, a tourism non-profit focused on teaching young unemployed women how to work in the youth tourism industry, and finding them jobs. The tourism curriculum is taught online and through an immersive 3-week road trip around South Africa. Khwela means “to climb” in isiXhosa, and has won the Bookingcares startup fund in 2018, finalist in the Global youth tourism awards for “best social responsibility award in 2018 and was invited by the UNWTO in 2019 to address 12 heads of state the the UNWTO Investour.
Kim is an EMBA 2020 candidate at the UCT Graduate School of business, mother of two gorgeous kids and is a proud Cape Town local.