The Scottish Youth Hostels Association (“SYHA”) is component of the Hostelling International, which gives youth hostelry accommodation, established in Scotland in 1931. It is used by a lot of visitors from other countries and presently claims more than 30, 000 members.
The association aims to help everyone, especially young people, to appreciate and enjoy the Scottish countryside, historic places and destinations of cultural interest in Scotland. To promote the visitants’ recreation, education and health by giving them low cost accommodation on their travels is also one of SYHA’s objectives. It is claimed that the association left its root as a working class movement to provide accommodation to those who are not financially well-off and have limited means.
Approximately 70 hostels are listed in its current handbook including the Gatliff Hebridean Hostel Trust. Situated in major cities and towns, rural areas and remote islands, the hotels come at variance from historic country cottages and buildings to modern purpose-built premises. The accommodation follows a dormitory style, which is increasingly being subdivided into smaller units. Edinburgh Central, which is the most modern hostel with ensuite facilities, offers both twin-bedded and single rooms. Each has a lounge or sitting room, self catering kitchens and shared bathrooms.
Currently, the SYHA is confronted by strong competition from various independent hostels and rural hotels offering bunkhouse accommodation. The closure of some hostels resulted from the association’s failure to attract visitors due to limited resources and change in demand. For many, the hostels continue doing a good job of being able to provide reasonably priced facilities and opportunities for walkers to meet and get along with other hostellers.