Northern Ireland youth hostels being showcased around the world

Invest Northern Ireland is helping Hostelling International Northern Ireland (HINI) win business from global markets.

HINI is a not-for-profit tourist accommodation provider and incorporates a network of six youth hostels across Northern Ireland, comprising over 500 beds in total.

In an investment of around £54,000, supported by almost £27,000 from Invest NI, HINI will tour youth hostels across the UK, Republic of Ireland, Europe and North America. The “roadshow” will showcase local youth hostels as a welcoming and cost effective option for overseas travellers who already use the international hostel network and who might be interested in coming to visit Northern Ireland.

In addition, HINI is developing eye-catching export marketing communications material and plans to employ a dedicated coordinator to oversee delivery of the in-market activities. Invest NI has also helped HINI improve its IT systems.

In recent years the local youth hostel network has achieved a 45 per cent increase in overnight stays, including considerable growth from the US market, and HINI hopes the programme of visits will help further build on this success.

Kevin McCann, Invest NI’s Director of Transport, Construction and Tourism, says: “The current economic climate is encouraging more and more people to holiday on a budget. HINI caters for this market demand, attracting visitors who wish to cut accommodation costs and allocate more of their budget to seeing and experiencing as much as possible of what Northern Ireland has to offer.

“Now, HINI is shrewdly targeting youth hostel users in other countries in order to further raise awareness of NI youth hostels as an attractive accommodation option. This approach will enhance HINI’s already strong international reputation and generate even more revenue from overseas sources, thereby helping sustain the business through the current downturn and beyond.”

Ken Canavan, HINI’s General Secretary, adds: “We are very excited to be embarking upon this tour of youth hostels around the world. A campaign on this scale is unprecedented for us but is, we believe, the best method for building on our recent growth.

“With the strong support of Invest NI and with the help of our membership of the International Youth Hostel Federation, we hope to further capitalise on the current high level of international interest in Northern Ireland. This will encourage as many people as possible to enjoy our well-located, high quality youth hostels when they come here.”