A review of the hostel sector in the Republic of Macedonia

Taskov, Nako and Dimitrov, Nikola and Metodijeski, Dejan (2014) A review of the hostel sector in the Republic of Macedonia. In: Proceedings of the Vth International Practical - Scientific Conference:Tourism Economics and Business. Batumi Shota Rustaveli State University, Batumi, Georgia, pp. 168-172. ISBN 978-9941-22-316-7

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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to make a review of the hostel sector in the Republic of Macedonia. For the purposes of the paper, an exploratory (qualitative) research was carried out which resulted in an insight into the state of hostel sector at national and international level. Exploratory research is typical of a situation in which researchers have little knowledge of the problem they explore (Budinoski, 2010). Part of the survey was to use secondary data sources by consulting relevant professional literature on the hostel sector and the Internet. Also, several informal and unstructured interviews with owners of hostels in the City of Skopje were conducted, in order to obtain "first-hand" information associated with various aspects of the operation and development of hostels. The paper is divided into several parts that cover the matter related to the definition and historical development of the hostels, trends in hostels operations, and the profile of tourists staying in hostels, hostels sector and recommendations for its development in the Republic of Macedonia. Hostels are defined as facilities that provide clean, neat and mostly cheap accommodation for young people travelling in their own country or abroad for leisure or educational purposes. They are places where young people from different social status and nationalities meet, places for friendship and recreation and social interaction. In the hostel, guests often pay less for a bed and rather than a room, share a common bathroom, living room and kitchen. The hostel business began to develop in 1907, when Richard Schirrmann, a teacher from the small town of Altena in Germany, chose to adapt one of the empty classrooms for accommodation and overnight stay for students. His idea was to attract students from industrial cities to rural areas and considered that walking and cycling in the fresh air is of great importance for the development of youth and learning. By 1928 there were already more than 2,000 hostels worldwide, and International Hostel Federation (now Hostelling International) was founded in Amsterdam in 1932. There are several trends in modern Hostel operation of which the paper draws attention to the information systems for booking, hostel chains, the increase of the level of quality in serving and development of hostel product. Currently there are few effective information systems that specialize in providing hostel offers around the world, and most known among them are hostels.com, hostelworld.com, hostelbookers.com and hostelz.com. The success of the operation and the free movement of capital and investment lead to establishment of hostel chains, the largest of which are A&O, Meininger, Generator etc. The increase in the minimum service standards (welcoming, comfort, cleanliness, security and privacy) aimed at young tourists, lead to a trend of opening hostels to new markets such as family and business tourists. Hostel product, offered to the market, includes the following elements: collective and animation rooms in a hostel offer a relaxed atmosphere that allows guests (individual or group) to meet and socialize; organized events, bars and use of social networks and technologies create new types of social interaction; rooms with private toilet and bathroom, separate rooms for women and high quality facilities, rooms, equipment and interior; attractive price and location in city centers, close to public transport facilities and city attractions. Latest research (HVS, 2013) provide the profile of tourists staying in hostels: 5% of the guests are business tourists, 12% are couples, 18% are family guests, 20% are individual guests and 45% are groups of young tourists. These groups of young tourists are called backpackers - a form of low budget, individual international travel. It involves use of a backpack or other type of baggage that is easy to carry on long distances and for long periods, use of public transportation, accommodation facilities that are relatively cheap (as hostels are), longer average length of stay compared to other types of tourism (up to 60 days), visit to several countries during travel, interest in learning about the local people and its culture, visit to attractive places in the destination point and a number of activities. This paper provides an overview of hostels in the Republic of Macedonia, and according to the data one can conclude that the country has 23 hostels, most of which are located in Skopje (17), three are located in Bitola and three are located in Ohrid. Hostels have an average rating of 89.5 by visitors. In order to improve the hostel sector in the Republic of Macedonia, the following recommendations are given: introduction of hostel operations in formal education through curricula and teaching practice in secondary hospitality-tourism schools and faculties of Tourism and Hospitality; change of legislation and categorization of hostels; implementation of international standards for quality in hostel operations; consolidation of the hostels in the Republic of Macedonia into a national association; establishment of service provider for the needs of tourists staying in hostels (networking of interested parties); organization and participation in international conferences; development of hostel product; support to environmental campaigns and conduct of research related to hostels.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: Social Sciences > Economics and business
Divisions: Faculty of Tourism and Business Logistics
Depositing User: Dejan Metodijeski
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2014 12:52
Last Modified: 19 Aug 2014 12:52
URI: http://eprints.ugd.edu.mk/id/eprint/10642

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