UNWTO-NEPAD Tourism Tech Adventures; Khwela-South Africa


Khwela is part of the five selected tourism start ups in Africa to participate in the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) NEPAD Tourism Tech Adventures during this year’s Investor. below is the profile of the start up

“Khwela” means “to climb” in isiXhosa – one of South Africa’s eleven official languages.
Khwela Youth Tourism stars was founded in 2017 by three enthusiastic youth tourism
professionals and offers a hands-on (not hand-out) approach to learning tourism. After
working in the youth tourism industry for a number of years, we realized that it is difficult to
hire enthusiastic millennial staff – which should not be the case in a country that has over
60% youth unemployment.

Our theory of change is that tourism doesn’t only need to be studied; it needs to be learnt
through experiences. We offer tuition, training, internship placement and job counselling to
21 previously disadvantaged young women at a time – in an experiential way. We offer 8
weeks of tourism theory training through (Swiss accredited) online learning platform,
practical assessments, and a three week road trip through South Africa – experiencing
youth travel to the fullest. From whale-watching, to horse interactions; to bungee jumping –
wine tasting and community tourism initiatives, sleeping under the stars and waking up at
sunrise for a hike – we enable participants to travel the country and see it through the eyes
of a traveller, while executing what they have learnt. We believe that through experiencing
tourism, they can feel the magic that youth tourism has to offer, and become engaged
tourism stars.

Our aim is to create meaningful employment for unemployed women in South Africa, and
showcase youth travel as a viable career path. With a relatively low barrier to entry, we
believe youth travel is the perfect catalyst for social change in South Africa (still a very
divided country). On the road trip the women will be faced with challenges they will learn
to overcome – we believe this will set them up for success in the future as they learn how
to overcome fear and be brave in the world. The syndicate groups and Khwela alumni will
be a future support for them as they embark on a career in youth travel.

Company profile
Headquarters: South Africa
Website: khwela.org.za
Industry: Travel | Social Enterprise |
Tourism | Education | Women
Empowerment | Culture |
Hospitality | Jobs | Talent

Business model
Non For profit

Kim Whitaker, CEO
Tourism professionals


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