Lower dollar pushes up youth hostel prices

Hostels across Israel are raising prices both for private single rooms and for beds in dormitories.

youth hostel 224 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
youth hostel 224 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
After a year suffering under the effect of the weak US dollar, youth hostels across Israel are raising prices both for private single rooms and for beds in dormitories. The fall of the dollar's worth has coincided with a rise in the prices of utilities and crucial goods in Israel, such as food, gas, electricity and water. A single bed in one of the Israeli Youth Hostel Association's hostels costs $30 - or NIS 97 - for foreign tourists, a price comparable to that of hostels in Barcelona or Rome, though less expensive than the price of a bed in a Paris hostel. Israelis pay a higher price for the same bed because they are required to pay V.A.T., from which foreign tourists are exempt. While he says that Israeli hostel prices remain reasonable, IYHA CEO Ofer Shapira attributed this year's rise in prices to the fact that tourists pay in dollars while the hostels pay costs in shekels. "The dollar fell, and the prices rose, unfortunately," said Shapira. "Electricity, rent, minimum wage and water all rose, and you pay for all of those in shekels. There's a double process going on." Shapira added, however, that the rise in price has nothing to do with the rise in tourists to Israel this year. While the IYHA has become more expensive, Shapira said that prices have only risen in proportion to the worldwide economic situation, as opposed to other hostels, which have taken advantage of the increase in tourists. "The rise in prices is to maintain the same level as last year," he said. "A lot of hostels went further than that. We just want to keep last year's level. It's definitely not about the rise in tourism. That's not our policy." Along with single beds, the prices of IYHA private rooms and of field schools across the country have also risen over the past year by NIS 16, which Shapira says is more significant because more tourists have been requesting private group rooms as groups as opposed to dormitories. Field schools across the country also offer mostly private rooms, and a spokesperson for IYHA Rabin Youth Hostel in Jerusalem said that the hostel hardly receives requests for dormitory rooms anymore. Shapira added, however, that all IYHA hostels will continue offering a dormitory option. "We're part of a world federation that gives the option of dormitories," he said. "As long as they keep offering dormitories, we will too."