Support hostelling community through winter says Ben Lake MP


Ben Lake MP has supported a parliamentary motion asking the UK Government to underpin health measures with economic support and urgently put packages of support in place for the hostel sector. The motion asks the government for help to survive winter amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Hundreds of hostels and bunkhouses throughout the UK have been forced to close during the pandemic having a catastrophic effect on income and jobs in the sector particularly in rural parts of the UK, including in west Wales. 

YHA, which operates 24 youth hostels in Wales, has suffered a £30 million (75%) drop in income since March, making it the worst ever year in the charity’s 90-year history.  

Despite hopes of a vaccine by the end of the year, many hostels and bunkhouses will be unable to recover financially during the winter months in order to sustain them until spring. 

Hostels and bunkhouses now need support from the UK Government to get them though the winter and to ensure that this unique form accommodation will be around to provide low cost accommodation for healthy outdoor holidays and school residential trips in 2021. While furlough and other government support has been welcome hostelling – based as it is on sharing and on communities coming together - faces some very specific threats. 

The Early Days Motion states that ‘hostels are often used by people who intend to take part in outdoor activities and that ensuring that people can still access healthy outdoor holidays at accessible prices will be important after the Covid-19 outbreak.’ 

YHA believes that hostelling, as it did at the end of World War 2, will play a key role in the recovery of society – helping people reconnect with each other, the outdoors, nature, culture and heritage. 

Ben Lake MP said:  

“Without further financial support from the UK Government, many hostels may not survive until the start of the new tourist season next year. 

“These are businesses which in normal trading conditions are financially sound and profitable. Whilst I fully understand the public health reasons for the operating restrictions on hostels and I’m not asking for them  to be exempted from them, but I am calling on the UK Government to recognise the impact these restrictions are having on hostels  and for further financial support to take account of this. 

“The closure of any hostels will obviously have a devastating effect for our hostel owners and their employees. Just as importantly though, it will have an adverse effect on the communities in which our hostels are located and on the wider outdoor community in Wales.”   

Anita Kerwin-Nye, Director of Strategy and Engagement at YHA (England & Wales) explained: 

“Hostelling is a movement based on sharing. Sharing spaces, sharing ideas and sharing joy of nature, outdoors and heritage. Affordable travel is needed now more than ever.” 

To date the Early Days Motion 1100 Support for Hostels, which was tabled on 4 November, has received support from 20 MPs to date. 

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