Hostels struggle to survive in pandemic

From the NYT: “But travel has dramatically changed, and hostels, the backbone of affordable travel, barely survived. The future for many is uncertain. Hostels — the majority of which are small businesses — are built on community and camaraderie, places where people go from introducing themselves to sharing meals and beers or planning the next leg of their journeys together. They are a petri dish for friendships, but in a global pandemic, there was concern they could also be a petri dish for Covid-19. Border restrictions, lockdowns and social distancing were particularly devastating. And the challenges are not yet over: The more contagious Delta variant brings uncertainty for the fall travel season. …

“A rise in domestic travelers or assistance from government programs has helped hostels scrape by. But owners and managers have had to rethink their operating strategies, from launching bagel businesses to renting dorm rooms for group bookings only or creating office spaces. Many cling to the belief that hostels play a vital role in the travel ecosystem — an inexpensive way visit new cities and make friends while doing it — one, they say, not even a pandemic can eliminate.”

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