Scottish hostels have been supported with a £2.3m fund from the Scottish government. But what about the rest of the country?
Scottish Hostels have been supported with grants from the Scottish government. When will Westminster and the Welsh government recognise the unique plight of their hostels. How long will it be before they acknowledge the vital role hostels play in promoting wellbeing by providing sustainable holidays for all?
Hostels have been uniquely effected by the Pandemic. Social distancing rules have closed the shared kitchens and the friendly communal areas which make hostelling so great.
Even at the height of summer 2020, when the Covid-19 restrictions were at their most relaxed, hostels were unable to operate at full capacity. An alarming number of hostels in the Independent Hostel network have remained shut since the pandemic began.
The Scottish government fund of £2.3m has provided a lifeline to the Scottish hostels. It acknowledges their unique financial plight and secures their future. Recognition of the importance of the hostelling sector in supporting local communities and promoting sustainable and healthy tourism.
We are calling upon the Welsh Government and Westminster to provide a similar level of support to the England and Welsh hostels.
A united approach to recovery
The pandemic has brought together youth hostels and independent hostels across the UK to ask for support for our industry. Independent Hostels UK, YHA, Scottish Independent Hostels, Hostelling Scotland, and Hostelling International Northern Ireland have joined to form the Hostelling Together partnership.
Hostels contribute more than any other hospitality to wellbeing, connection with nature and the rural economy. We are calling on the English and Welsh Government to recognise their unique role by providing support now.
Westminster announced on 16 February that it has allocated an additional £650 million to the Welsh Government to support people, businesses and public services affected by Covid. The Welsh Government will be able to carry over any of the £650 million not spent this year into the 2021/22 financial year in order to provide continuing support. What is needed now is for a small proportion of this fund to be earmarked for hostels.