Hong Kong 2003
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Hong Kong Youth Hostels Association

The Hong Kong Youth Hostels Association (HKYHA) celebrated 30 years of service to the community in 2003, having been established in September 1973.

At the time, the majority of the population lived in crowded public housing estates or squatter areas. The association's founders thus envisaged the establishment of a number of basic hostels in rural areas as a means whereby young people might escape temporarily from the restricting surroundings in which they lived.

The association is non-profit-making organisation that is entirely dependent upon the support of members and well-wishers to meet its day-to-day operating costs. The practice of tight financial control and careful husbandry has enabled it to maintain a sound financial position over the intervening years. The capital costs of developing the current hostel network together with the expenditure incurred in undertaking major upgrading and renovation works have been met through the receipt of generous financial contributions from a small number of benefactors.

The HKYHA is affiliated to the International Youth Hostels Federation and is governed by an Executive Committee whose members work on a voluntary, personal basis and are drawn from the private sector and the Government. The association has its principal office in Shek Kip Mei from where operational, administrative and marketing activities are carried out. Individual hostels are run by resident hostel managers who are given considerable latitude to stamp each with their own personality. Membership of the association in Hong Kong additionally entitles those joining to avail themselves of the facilities in over 4 200 hostels located in about 60 countries.

The aim of all the association's hostels is to provide a warm, welcoming and informal venue at which members from diverse backgrounds and differing countries can meet in comfort and fellowship. It is the association's policy to keep membership and overnight charges at the minimum level possible consistent with prudent financial management. This is intended to ensure that the hostels are accessible to all within the community so as to encourage succeeding generations to become better acquainted with the natural world that exists beyond the urban areas and to experience for themselves the beauty of the mountains and the coastal scenery that is so readily accessible within the HKSAR.

Each of the seven hostels is appealing in its own way as a base for hiking, mountaineering, swimming, diving, kayaking, camping, barbecuing and the many other pastimes both active and passive that appeal to members. During the year, a new indoor activities hall was completed at the Sze Lok Yuen hostel on the slopes of Tai Mo Shan and fire-safety upgrading works were undertaken in the Mount Davis hostel on Hong Kong Island and the Mong Tung Wan hostel on Lantau Island. Other hostels are located at Pak Sha O and Chek Keng in Sai Kung, Ngong Ping on Lantau and Tai Mei Tuk in Tai Po. The HKYHA has an active volunteer services group drawn from within its membership and during the year this group organised a number of special events based on one or other of the association's hostels in addition to its work within the community at large.

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