YHA Going Soft...
YHA chief exececutive speaks out on the need to modernise and the impossibility of running rural hostels as 'museum pieces'
Posted: 3 July 2002
'Should the YHA become the UHA - Urban Hostels For All?' asks
Stephen Cook writing in today's Guardian Society pages.
The Guardian story is a hard-hitting look at the YHA in the wake
of its £4 million foot and mouth losses and the decision to
close a number of hostels including the one at Dufton that means
there is now a 41-mile stretch of the Pennine Way with no YHA.
It goes deeper than that though, pointing out that the Youth
component of Youth Hostels Association is fast becoming an
anachronism with 40 per-cent of users now over 40 and 65 per-cent of
its paid-up members now over 45. It also questions the shift in
emphasis away from the country - only two of ten new hostels tagged
for opening are non-urban - and the trend towards doing away with
dorm' accommodation in favour of smaller rooms and more showers and
New YHA chief executive Roger Clarke explains that in order to
provide low cost accommodation in areas like national parks, the
Association needs 'help not with running costs, but with investment
and attempts to reach new groups of people'. He says that
organisation is aiming to raise bed sales by 50% to 3 million and
increase membership from 300,000 to 500,000 over the next five
Clarke also hits out at the 'old timers' with their spartan ethic
saying 'We live in a market place... We need a broader view of what
the YHA is about.' The alternative would be to run hostels as 'museum
pieces' he claims.
Definitely worth a read.
Discuss this story