This year has been a very challenging one for hostels. Like the rest of the tourist sector, they have been very hard hit by the necessary national and local lockdowns and by the various operating restrictions brought in to fight the spread of COVID-19.
Unfortunately, the very nature of hostels is that they are a sharing environment. Our guests share dormitory bedrooms with strangers, they share private rooms with friends from other households and they all share communal facilities like kitchens, dining rooms, lounges, toilets and showers. Social distancing rules and limits on mixing with other households have meant that hostels have had to severely limit who can stay, what facilities are open and who can use them. All of this has had a major financial effect on all members of Scottish Independent Hostels (SIH), more severe than the effect on other types of accommodation providers.
Our members have done their best to comply with all rules in place, they have adapted, and they have tried to continue trading. They have also gratefully accepted all financial help on offer from the Scottish and UK Governments. Despite that, our whole industry is facing an uncertain future and sadly some SIH members may not survive.
We are not taking it lying down, though. From the outset SIH has taken a lead in publicising the plight of the hostel industry and we have taken our case to the UK and Scottish Governments. We are very glad that other hostelling organisations have now followed our lead.
Since the start of July we have:
- Surveyed our members to find out the effects of COVID-19 on their businesses
- Prepared a detailed report and analysis and submitted it to the Scottish Government
- Contacted all Scottish MPs and MSPs with hostels in their constituencies
- Lobbied industry organisations such as VisitScotland
- Arranged articles or interviews in the media (BBC Alba, Radio Scotland, TGO Magazine and the Guardian amongst others)
- Updated Government and other interested organisations whenever a rule change has affected our members
- Created the “Support our Hostels” slogan and logo, now used by other hostelling organisations
- Linked up with Independent Hostels UK, Hostelling Scotland and the YHA England and Wales to launch a nationwide lobbying campaign
We will keep up our efforts to campaign for our unique industry which we love and believe in, just like you. The fight goes on. You can all help by raising awareness of our struggle and by continuing to use our services, even if at the moment we can’t run our businesses as normal. Support our Hostels!
2020 Directors: Laurie, Jackie, Greg & Dominique