Mobility at HI Hostels – Inclusive travels and stays for all

May 02, 2017
Emilia

A new month, a new sustainability theme! Since the beginning of the 2017 UN Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development we have been showcasing the interrelated areas of sustainable hostelling. Don’t know what we’re talking about? Check them all out here.

In April, we have reviewed how HI Hostels can achieve carbon neutrality. Have a look at some of the great ways our Hostels have celebrated the month:

Switzerland blog Learn more about how the Swiss Youth Hostels are building low energy Hostels.
NZ - Env Commitment YHA New Zealand Hostels have achieved carbon neutrality through their carboNZero certification. Learn about their environmental commitment and see what it means for them to be carbon neutral here.
YHA NZ - sunshine solar Sunshine Solar have installed energy efficiency and solar solutions throughout multiple YHAs in New Zealand.
Norway Gjovik The Swapping clothes event hosted by Gjøvik Hostel of HI Norway also contributes in achieving carbon neutrality.

One of our aims for 2017 and beyond, is to take steps towards an understanding and practise of sustainable tourism that is inclusive, and that embraces the principles of universal design and accessibility.

Therefore, in May, we continue our 10-month campaign by tackling: 04. Mobility_label_colour_high

During this month, we will be discussing two different aspects of Mobility:

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. What are the steps our Hostels can take to welcome differently abled people? What is inclusive design?

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 hosteling 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). And that’s why at HI we strive to encourage guests and staff alike to travel responsibly and reduce the impact of their journey. Thus, what are the most sustainable types of transport? How do we encourage guests to travel in a more sustainable manner?  How can staff reduce their CO2 emissions? These are just some of the questions we are aiming to answer.

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. Plane, car or boat, our travels contribute to the production of global CO2 emissions and we can have an impact through our choices.

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So how do our Hostels address these topics?

Several HI Associations and Hostels have not only established partnerships with local and sustainable transport providers, but many have adapted their facilities and even their offer of activities.

Here are just a few examples:YHA New Zealand offers alow carbon discountto HI Members who cycle or hike their way around New Zealand andHI Icelandoffers discounts on bike rental and horse riding activities, plus 10% discount to all those who travel solely by bike. STF, our Swedish Association cooperates with their national rail service to give members 20% off when travelling by train and HI Croatiahas a similar collaboration with their national rail service and provides 25% to their HI Members.HI Canadaalso gives discounts on bus and train journeys and other hostels give guests incentives to travel responsibly. YHA Israelwas awarded in March 2017 for their accessible wing at Ein Gedi Hostel and some of their hostels have kitchen tables lowered for wheelchair users. Even more, all YHA Israel hostels follow the kosher rules for food management, have sound kits for hearing problems at the reception and special marks for blinds are available near the stairs and in public areas. 

Check out two of our Star Projects for the month:
Adapted Wilderness Adventures programme - HI Canada CanadaWheelchair

 HI Canada‘s Adapted Wilderness Adventures programme is life-changing! Together with organisations like Paralympic Sports Association and the Rocky Mountain Adaptive Sports Centre they partner to provide memorable experiences to their guests.

bavaria pic

Since 2015, 16 Youth Hostels of DJH Bavaria went through the certification process of the “Tourism for all” label which was initiated by the German Tourism Academy. The system provides detailed information for guests so they can determine if they can use the hostel for their purpose before booking it. The process is still ongoing and the aim is to get all Bavarian Youth Hostels audited, how awesome is that? 

So now you must be wondering: what can YOU do to travel more responsibly?
  • Fly less and avoid short haul – instead of going around on a plane, use the bus/train/car share or even consider cycling your way to your desired destination. You’ll get to see and experience so much more, and you’ll get fit too!
  • If flying to your destination can not be avoided, look for responsible options to get around once you are there. Instead of renting a car why not get a bike or hop on the local bus?
  • Chose sustainable providers – regardless of the means of travel, look for providers that care about the environment and take real efforts to reduce the CO2 impact of their business.
  • Offset! It is hard to avoid emitting any CO2 at all while travelling so always try to offset the remaining impact you have. Did you know that when you book on hihostels.com, you can donate a small amount (sometimes as low as 0.10 GBP!) to offset your stay and invest in CO2 emission saving projects in our hostels? Learn more about the HI Sustainability Fund. 
  • Walk! Nothing is more sustainable than exploring a new place on foot. Open mind, wind in your hair, light backpack… just get ready to blend in with the locals and experience their way of life.

If you have already experienced great sustainable practices in one of our HI Hostels around the world, please share with us in comments below! We would love to hear about your hostelling experiences <3

Find out about all the other great areas of sustainable hostelling we will be tackling during 2017.

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