Regional Loyalty Manager (Europe) - Qatar Airways Student Club
An avid traveller who has been fortunate to spend the majority of his career working in
travel - such a dynamic, fun and rewarding industry! Paul doesn’t have a ‘favourite’
destination as such. Every travel adventure creates its own special moments and cherished
memories. If pushed South Africa would be right up there: from backpacking adventures in
Johannesburg and along the Garden Route to a more recent family break exploring Cape Town
and surrounding areas with its stunning nature, fascinating history, great food/wine and
Senior Brand Strategist, nib Travel
Having lived and worked across four continents, Mika is truly a “World Nomad”. She’s
currently based in Australia, working as a Senior Brand Strategist for World Nomads and
other nib Travel brands. Outside of the office, you’ll find her hanging off various cliff
faces or wiping out in the surf as she explores a passion for rock climbing, the outdoors,
and the general adrenaline of life. South Africa will always hold a special place in her
heart because of the wonderful friendships and memories she made there.
Coordinator of the One Planet network Sustainable Tourism Programme and Global Tourism
For the past 10 years, Svitlana has worked on projects related to sustainable mobility,
circularity and sustainable consumption and production within various UN agencies as well
as with private businesses. Currently, she is working as Coordinator of the One Planet network
Sustainable Tourism Programme, which objective is to foster the implementation of
Sustainable Development Goal 12 on Sustainable Consumption and Production in the Tourism
sector. Her favourite destination is Bali for its incredible people, vegan food and
Talent Producer, Podcast Host & Travel Content Creator
Kendra Okereke is a 29-year-old solo traveller from Los Angeles, CA. She has been solo
travelling for 5 years, has visited 20 countries and taken 16 solo trips! She loves to stay
in hostels and meet other travellers from around the world. She's also a total and complete
hopeless romantic. When she's not travelling, you can find her hosting the podcast, The
Rom-Com Room. She's also the creator and moderator of Late Bloomer Support, a Facebook
for people who identify as late bloomers. Whether you're 21 and have never kissed someone
40 and have never been in a relationship, this is a safe space for people to find support
and receive advice. You can find Kendra on IG and TikTok
Her favourite destination is Ireland. She loves the culture, how kind people are and she’s
exactly who she wants to be as a person when she’s there. She’s been there 3 times and has
visited 12 of Ireland’s counties.
General Manager of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)
Roi Ariel has been focusing on responsible travel and sustainable tourism over the past
decade. Roi manages GSTC's memberships, partnerships, communications, and operations in his
current role. This includes working closely with key governmental agencies and influential
companies to mainstream and promote adherence to sustainability standards in travel and
tourism. He previously worked with UN-ESCAP researching sustainable development and green
growth in Southeast Asia, and on sustainability issues with the Pacific Asia Travel
Association (PATA). He also served as the Green Economy Initiative Advisor for EcoPeace
Middle East in Israel and a sustainable tourism advisor in countries around the world,
including China, Madagascar, and Taiwan.
Taiwan is his favourite destination to travel to, especially after spring when certain
are filled with hundreds of blinking flashes of fireflies at twilight. It’s also the last
chance to get warm and enjoy a natural hot spring in the cooled central mountains or cool
down when snorkelling in the tropics.
Managing Director, EMEA, G Adventures
With over 30 years of experience, Brian Young’s career in the travel sector has taken him
from a bright-eyed 19-year-old club rep, working for Club 18-30, to Managing Director of G
Adventures across the EMEA region. He loves to travel to Greece and the islands. He loves
the culture, the food and the fact you can still get off the beaten track and find amazing
local places that have not been touched by tourism.
Digital Producer and Travel Content Creator
Nolan Saumure currently works as a digital producer and content creator on a freelance
basis. From a small town in Canada called Renfrew, he feels like growing up in a small town
where no one leaves is the reason he rebelled and now likes to travel all the time. Because
he was infatuated with the travel lifestyle, he felt like the only way to support this
healthy addiction was to get a remote job. Having always been into video editing and social
media, he developed his skills as a digital producer to become a digital nomad. His
favourite travel destination is Mexico. It's a country that has so much more to offer than
the beaches it's famous for and if you explore the non-touristy area you'll find an
authentic culture like no other.
Founder of Hostelgeeks, Co-Founder of Steel Donkey Bike Tours in Barcelona and Entrepreneur
Hostelgeeks is your gateway to the world’s finest hostels, the 5 Star Hostels. They visit
all the top hostels in the world and put them under one roof for you. Together with his
small team, Matt has run Hostelgeeks since 2015. Before Hostelgeeks he worked in web
development. On the road, you will find him in any good café house, enjoying an iced
In a hostel, you will find him at the Foosball table. You will never hear him counting the
countries he has visited, but most likely he’ll tell you how wonderful Vietnam is. Why?
Because of its strong and kind people and culture, the beautiful nature, and its cuisine
with its tasty balance of aromatics, heat, sweetness, sourness, and spices.
After a decade spent inside a banking office cubicle, Aiden decided to start his life over
again and hit the road. From there, he fell into travel blogging and rose to the
illustrious position of Senior Editor at The Broke Backpacker! He manages the site’s gear content as
well as providing the occasional insightful piece on the lessons and tribulations picked up
on the road!
He loves travelling to India because it is everything that travel should be - challenging
as hell but also richly rewarding. And of course, it’s huge so there is always so much to see.
All entries were reviewed by our panel of judges who have an in-depth understanding of the areas our awards focus on.
The judges shortlisted 5 hostels for each award, so 25 finalists in total.
Then we asked travellers to vote! And YOU did (thank you).
The winning hostels were confirmed, based on a combination of the judges’ votes, the public’s vote and their Hostelworld rating during the relevant time.