Swiss Youth Hostels
Contact per e-mail:
General inquiries / member department: email@example.com
Booking center for youth hostels wordwide: firstname.lastname@example.org
Head office buisness hours:
Monday - Friday: 08:00 - 17:00hrs
Monday - Friday: 08:00 - 18:00hrs
The Swiss Youth Hostels are committed to sustainability. We believe that sustainability means taking into account not only social and ethical issues, but also the sensible use of resources.
Through our sustainability strategy, we aim to be a role model for the Swiss tourism sector and to motivate others to adopt this course. The Swiss Youth Hostels operate 46 hostels all over Switzerland and together with its 7 franchise hostels achieve around 950,000 overnight stays per year.
The Swiss Youth Hostels perform a balancing act between achieving their social goals as a non-profit organisation and the profitability they need in order to survive. Demand remains the most important yardstick. In recent years, the number of overnight stays has been increased to almost a million despite a simultaneous reduction in the number of hostels and somewhat difficult economic conditions. The annual turnover is now running at over CHF 44 million, the cash flow at almost CHF 9 million. The number of members provides further confirmation of the steadily growing demand. In 2009, it topped the 100,000 mark for the first time. Healthy profitability is crucial for continuous renewal of the network. At the present time, this enables some CHF 10 to 15 million to be invested in refurbishment and new building every year.
The Swiss Youth Hostels operate with a comprehensive environmental management programme that takes the ecology of the buildings as much as the organisation into consideration. The highest standards and the best labels serve as yardsticks, selected partners as indicators. All youth hostels are now certified with the EU Eco-label and the ibex fairstay label. During the most recent certification by ibex fairstay, no fewer than nine hostels were accorded the coveted highest rating “Platinum”. In addition, four youth hostels meet the Minergie energy rating standard. Among them is Interlaken Youth Hostel, which opened in spring 2012 and is the first accommodation business in the world to attain the Minergie-P standard. There will be two further highly energy-efficient hostels in 2014, namely Gstaad Saanenland (Minergie-P-Eco standard) and the wellnessHostel4000 (Minergie-Eco standard). In 2013, the specific CO2 emission for space heating was down by 44.9% compared to 2000. This means that the binding target of 28.5% for 2013 agreed with the Energy Agency for the Economy (EnAW) was exceeded by a wide margin. Moreover, a nationwide programme to fit the youth hostels with water-saving valves has enabled water consumption to be reduced to just 138 litres per overnight stay. This represents a reduction of about 18 per cent compared to 1996 and was achieved despite higher standards in the wet cells. Essential energy consumption is to be met by renewable sources wherever possible. For example, all electricity is obtained CO2-neutrally from Swiss hydroelectric generation, while five youth hostels produce their own photovoltaic power. Seven youth hostels are now heated using wood-fired systems, one using a heat pump and another using a solar district heating system.14 youth hostels produce hot water by means of solar collectors. In addition, 58 per cent of guests also make use of the voluntary CO2-offset – equivalent to some 2,400 tons of CO2.
The aim and purpose of youth hostels is social tourism, inexpensive accommodation for anyone on a modest budget. Prices are set in such a way that services remain affordable whilst nevertheless guaranteeing good quality and fair wages. Since 2008, Swiss Youth Hostels have also been pursuing the goal of systematically upgrading the infrastructure and overall range of services for people with disabilities. In 2013, it found the perfect partner for this project in the form of the Denk an mich foundation. The goal of the joint project partnership “Holidays – access for all” is to make the entire Swiss Youth Hostels offering barrier-free, from obtaining information on the Internet all the way to the hostels themselves. At the present time, 23 hostels are qualified for persons with disabilities. A further eight are partly qualified. The Swiss Youth Hostels currently employ around 540 persons sharing 293 full-time jobs. The low staff turnover – around 9.6 per cent – reflects the positive results of the annual job satisfaction surveys among the employees. 94 per cent rate their personal satisfaction as very good, good or neutral. An internal training programme offers development opportunities for all employees. Each year, around 370 course participants take advantage of this offer. An external social counselling office is open to all employees free of charge. And finally, a comparatively very healthy pension fund conveys a sense of security for the future. All employees, honorary board members and delegates receive accommodation vouchers every year entitling them and their family members to free use of the youth hostels. However, the Swiss Youth Hostels shoulder their social responsibility not only towards their guests and employees. Concern for regional and cultural aspects is accorded equal importance. Procurement of fresh regional produce and products bearing the Fairtrade seal of approval from the Max Havelaar Foundation is as much a matter of course as the upkeep of the historic buildings.
Sustainability partners of the Swiss Youth Hostels
- Stiftung Denk an mich - "Accessible holidays for all"
- Electricity source
- Energie-Agentur für Wirtschaft - EnAW
- European Eco-Label and Ibex fairstay label
- Greenpeace - Solar panels on the roof of St. Moritz Youth Hostel
- GSTC - Global Sustainable Tourism Council
- Max Havelaar
- The Minergie approach to building
- Business Report on Sustainable Development 2013 (PDF, 2.35 MB)
- Business Report on Sustainable Development 2012 (PDF, 2.94 MB)
- Annual & Sustainability Report 2011 (PDF, 3.54 MB)
- Annual & Sustainability Report 2010 (PDF, 2.64 MB)
- Annual & Sustainability Report 2009 (PDF, 2.58 MB)
- Sustainability Report 2008 (PDF, 2.56 MB)
- Sustainability Report 2007 (PDF, 1.81 MB)
- faktor (booklet in German) - Youth Hostels (PDF, 8.0 MB)