Hostel

A hostel refers to a lodging establishment registering and operating a hostel property as a hostel business pursuant to the ‘Tourism Promotion Act’. It provides suitable facilities for individual tourists such as backpackers at affordable rates. However, unlike ‘youth hostels’ which have age restrictions and curfews for guests, and regulations on pricing for the lodging products, hostels do not have such restrictions.
Dictionary Definition
A hostel means ‘a place where people, especially young people, can stay cheaply, typically sharing a room, while traveling.’
Statutory Definition
Hostel properties refer to buildings registered and operated as 'hostel businesses' pursuant to pursuant to the Enforcement Decree of Building Act, and ‘hostel business’ means a business that provides facilities suitable for individual tourists, such as backpackers, including amenities like showers and kitchens, as well as cultural and information exchange facilities for both foreign and domestic tourists.
Lobin Commentary

The hostel business was added as a subcategory of the hotel with the revision of the Enforcement Decree of Tourism Promotion Act in 2009. The intention was to reflect the reality of hostels being increasingly popular lodging establishments among individual tourists like backpackers, by formally including the hostel business within the hotel category. This was a response to the rapid increase of lodging establishments operating under the name ‘hostel’ in the lodging market. Although hostels originated from ‘youth hostels,’ which use a similar name and had already been legislated, the market distinguished between hostels and youth hostels.

Youth hostels, which originated in Germany as nonprofit lodging establishments to expand travel opportunities for young people, spread worldwide and were controlled by national associations. However, due to the growing demand for affordable lodging options, adults also started to prefer such options. In the 1980s, independent hostels not affiliated with any association began to appear in New Zealand, and this movement spread worldwide, leading to the distinction between hostels and youth hostels.

The key turning point for the hostel market’s growth into its current massive scale was the launch of hostel-specific management software ‘Hostel World ’ in 1999. The hostel brand ‘Generator Hostels ,’ which was established in the UK in 1995, started expanding to other European countries in the 2000s, leading to the emergence of hostel operators with economies of scale. In 2007, private equity began investing in the hostel market, fueling its rapid global growth.

Currently, the registration standards for the hostel business are stipulated in Annex 1 of the Enforcement Decree of Tourism Promotion Act as follows:

  1. Hostels must have guestrooms suitable for individual tourists such as backpackers.
  2. Hostels must have amenities such as toilets, showers, and kitchens to ensure guest comfort. These facilities can be shared.
  3. Hostels must have cultural and information exchange facilities to provide services to both foreign and domestic tourists.
  4. Medical hotels must secure ownership or usage rights of the land and buildings.
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Data Source

  • GDP: GDP, Current $US (World Bank Open Data)
  • Establishments: Compendium of Tourism Statistics (UNWTO), Lodging Business Ledger (MOIS)
  • Rooms: Compendium of Tourism Statistics (UNWTO), Lodging Business Ledger (MOIS)
  • Lodging GDP: Value Added by Industry (BEA), National Accounts (Cabinet Office), GDP of Indonesia (BPS), GDP & GNI by Sector (BOK), Economic Census (KOSIS)
  • Period: 2017-2021

※ In Korea, general & residential accommodations are included while rural & urban minbaks are excluded. Comparable countries are selected based upon availability of lodging GDP statistics for all types of accommodations.

Data Source

  • Population: Population, Total (World Bank Open Data)
  • GDP: GDP, Current $US (World Bank Open Data)
  • Rooms: Compendium of Tourism Statistics (UNWTO), Lodging Business Ledger (MOIS)
  • Lodging GDP: Value Added by Industry (BEA), National Accounts (Cabinet Office), GDP of Indonesia (BPS), GDP & GNI by Sector (BOK), Economic Census (KOSIS)
  • Period: 2017-2021

※ In Korea, general & residential accommodations are included while rural & urban minbaks are excluded. Comparable countries are selected based upon availability of lodging GDP statistics for all types of accommodations.

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Data Source

  • Korea: Lodging Business Ledger (MOIS), Tourist Accommodation Ledger (MCST)
  • USA: Census Database (STR)
  • Period: As at the end of 2021

※ General & residential accommodations other than rural and urban minbaks asre included for Korea. Life cycle was calculated as of December 31, 2021 or actual closure date. If there exists a discrepancy between data sources for an establishment, the discrepancy was settled through an algorithm before use.

Data Source

  • Korea: Lodging Business Ledger (MOIS), Tourist Accommodation Ledger (MCST), Economic Census (KOSIS), Hotel Operating Statistics (KHA), DART (FSS), Trends Report (STR)
  • USA: Compendium of Tourism Statistics (UNWTO), Census Database (STR), Trends Report (STR)
  • Period: 2005-2021

※ General & residential accommodations other than rural and urban minbaks asre included for Korea. Visibility was calculated as the number of establishments for which revenue data is available divided by the total number of establishments. If there exists a discrepancy between data sources for an establishment, the discrepancy was settled through an algorithm before use.

Data Source

  • Guests(Korea): Domestic Traveler Survey (MCST), International Traveler Survey (MCST), Hotel Operating Statistics (KHA)
  • Rooms(Korea): Lodging Business Ledger (MOIS), Tourist Accommodation Ledger (MCST)
  • Guests(USA): Compendium of Tourism Statistics (UNWTO), Trends Report (STR)
  • Rooms(USA): Compendium of Tourism Statistics (UNWTO), Census Database (STR)
  • Period: 2005-2020

※ General & residential accommodations other than rural and urban minbaks asre included for Korea. If there exists a discrepancy between data sources for an establishment, the discrepancy was settled through an algorithm before use.