Without our dedicated employees, volunteers and interns, hostelling would not be what it is today: an open community of like-minded people connected through their common aim of living in a world built on tolerance, mutual understanding and respect.
Tourism has a massive impact on the people that live in and around a destination. Since the very beginning of the hostelling movement and our foundation over 100 years ago, Hostelling International has been committed to supporting the communities around our hostels and contributing to the protection and preservation of local historical, archaeological, culturally and spiritually important properties and sites in all parts of the world.
We believe our hostels are not just about having a place to stay, they are places for travellers to come together and share; not just rooms but also sharing in discovering new cultures as well as themselves. By facilitating intercultural exchange, we believe we open minds and hearts to a more tolerant world, making our hostels and mission more relevant than ever! We embrace the diversity of our guests and our host destinations and we want our travellers to thrive in a broadminded world built on mutual understanding
Consuming Sustainably in our hostels means making conscious decisions on buying products that ensure continued great service and quality for our guests, while at the same time supporting our communities and minimising the negative impact on the environment.
As hostels, we have the power to directly make a positive contribution to protecting the environment in the way we handle and manage waste as well as water usage in our operations. From daily habits to specialized equipment, our hostels are striving to use water resources efficiently and reduce their production of non-recyclable waste.
Apart from working towards the same HI mission, all our hostels have something else in common: their buildings. From castles, to renovated farms, old prisons, turf houses and pharmacies… All HI hostels carry a story through their buildings, the places that accommodate millions of travellers every year. And what buildings have in common is that they release CO2 when warming up, cooling down, heating water etc.
What does ‘Carbon Neutrality’ actually mean for Hostelling International?
As Brian Westwood, YHA New Zealand said it: “Being carbon neutral is a term that’s thrown around a lot, but the idea is that for an organisation, the amount of equivalent carbon dioxide emitted equals zero. This might seem impossible, but it can happen through a process of measuring activities that contribute to equivalent carbon emissions, reducing them and offsetting remaining emissions via a certified third party”.
How does HI calculate, measure and compensate for CO2 emissions?
HI’s partner to fight climate change, calculate and compensate for CO2 emissions is myclimate.
Since April 2012, Hostelling International offers its guests the option of CO2 compensation when booking overnight stays. This option is currently offered in 35 countries. All contributions flow to three international myclimate UN Gold Standard Projects in Peru, China and Malawi where we provide new jobs, contribute to local growth and increased levels of health. HI also adds a donation of 0.10 GBP per night for the HI Sustainability Fund (HISF), which finances network projects to reduce our CO2 emissions. Read more about it here.
As travelling has become easier than ever and we are eager to discover the world, we need to be eco-conscious about the way we travel and how inclusive our travels and stays are.
Accessible Travel & Accommodation. Our Hostels are visited by many different people with different abilities and we are aiming to provide facilities that can be enjoyed by everyone. Supporting the principles of universal accessibility and striving to be inclusive is one of the main challenges we have. We believe the benefits of travelling should be accessible for all. Every design decision has the potential to include or exclude customers. Inclusive design enables everyone to participate equally, confidently and independently and provide the hostelling experience to the widest range of people.
Responsible and Sustainable Travel. The accommodation sector ‘only’ accounts for ca. 20% of CO2 emissions in tourism, but the largest proportion of up to 75% is produced by the transportation sector (UNWTO). At HI we strive to encourage guests and staff alike to travel responsibly and reduce the impact of their journey.
Why do we travel? As well as meeting new people and getting out of our personal comfort zones, culture and biodiversity are two of the main reasons travellers choose to visit certain locations. Don’t you also enjoy witnessing the majestic flora and fauna of a rainforest or learning about the culture of ancient civilisations? These are both important to tourism, yet essential to the local communities and their everyday life. That is why we must carefully help to consider, maintain and protect these destinations, so that we can ensure their sustainability for future generations of local people, as well as for visitors.
Destinations are not just visitor attractions, they are home to different people of diverse cultures and unique biodiversity. Both of which are some of the main reasons why tourists travel there in the first place. At HI, we acknowledge the importance of protecting everything that a destination is, so that future generations can also learn about the diverse culture and biodiversity of that particular place.
We believe in the positive impacts our travellers have on the community, and on preserving a destination’s natural assets.
As the pioneers of the hostelling movement we know that resilience is the key to maintaining, strengthening, and continuously developing our network. Our mission lies at the core of our hostels, which are designed to facilitate social mobility for everyone and intercultural exchange. Hostels need to be welcoming and receive enough guests to cover their costs and hopefully be able to invest in further projects and sustainable initiatives. Also, as a non-for-profit organisation, we need to ensure fair profit to allow investment in continuing to deliver our mission.
HI-Q and HI-Q&S are long-term Quality and Sustainability Management Systems that are suitable to the size and scope of hostelling and address social, environmental, economic, quality, human rights, health, safety risk and crisis management issues. They provide a unique framework that allows HI Hostels and HI
Associations to drive continuous improvement and advance their quality and sustainability practices.
Read more about HI’s Sustainability Management System.