Velden – Over 50 youth hostel representatives from 19 countries met for 3 days last weekend in Velden Cap Wörth. There was a direct exchange about the future of the youth hostels and how to deal with the current crises. The Executive President of the Austrian Youth Hostel Association (ÖJHV), Michael Raunig, was pleased that after two years with major challenges for all hostel associations worldwide, it was finally possible to hold the European Regional Conference in Austria.
Raunig further emphasized: “After two years of online meetings, it was really nice to meet all the friends of our hostel community again. Thank you for the interesting and exciting weekend. Together we will also master future challenges. Thanks also to our friends from Israel, who will hold the conference next year, and to our friends from Portugal, who will organize the conference in 2024.” The CEO of the ÖJHV head office, Christoph Sammer, also thanked the ÖJHV Kärnten for the great organization of the event and felt it was a great honor to hold the European Regional Conference after two postponements. He hopes that all conference participants had a pleasant time at Lake Wörthersee and hopes to see all friends in the youth hostel associations again soon.
As part of the conference, the first evening in the Youth and Family Hostel in Cap Wörth was attended by a reception by the Carinthian governor Dr. Peter Kaiser. Motto of the regional conference: “In the heart of Europe, Europe in the heart”. Kaiser warmly welcomed the “family of youth hostels” and admitted the “feeling of coming home”. For more than 3 decades, Kaiser himself was the CEO of the ÖJHV (Austrian Youth Hostel Association), was Vice President and is President of the ÖJHV.
Kaiser addressed the current crises – the Ukraine war and dealing with the pandemic. “We have a situation in Europe that nobody wants. The youth hostels stand for peace in every form and they have a clear mission to connect peoples through youth exchanges, bringing together young people from all over the world. The youth hostels live security, respect regardless of everything and are now providing the necessary help,” Kaiser said in his statement. Displaced people from the Ukraine are already accommodated in Cap Wörth.
In this context, Kaiser emphasized the importance of youth hostels and their mission and responsibility in the light of the crisis. This mission of the youth hostels, combined with the basic principles of sustainability, social tourism, the connection between peoples, the broadening of horizons beyond the borders, should be further emphasized and lived on in the future.
Christoph Sammer, firstname.lastname@example.org, +43 664 226 2011