Youth Hostelling as a movement has not taken long to establish in the world. During the course of the last almost eighty years, it has spread from country to country and spanned all the five continents.
The movement is based on two basic urges in the youth – love for the unknown, which includes desire for adventure and the desire to make friends.
Since the movement started in Germany in the second decade of last century, there was very little opportunity for young people of limited means to travel at will and see and enjoy the beautiful places in their own country and the world around. The virtues of travel have been acknowledged in all ages and in all climes. Its hazards and uncertainities and costs used to be too great to allow the common youth to get as much benefit from it as was desired.
The development of the means of communication and the establishment of youth hostels in more beautiful and attractive spots in many countries has made the opportunity of travel at a nominal cost far more easily available for youth.
As already explained the Youth Hostel Movement is the brainchild of an Richard S chirrmann eminent German school teacher, Richard Schirrmann, who set up the first Youth Hostel was opened in 1912 in Altenia, Germany. As a consequence, the Youth Hostels Association was formed in Germany in 1919. The inauguration of the International Youth Hostel Federation (IYHF) was an outcome of the first International Youth Hostel Federation Conference held in Amsterdam in 1932. With this, the YH Movement caught up and more Youth Hostels were established in Europe with hygienic and sanitary conditions.
IYHF is presently represented by 62 National Member Associations and 18 Associate Organisations and 18 Accredited Agents with a chain of more than 4,500 Youth Hostels and 4.5 million youth members worldwide. The hostels provide 35 million bed nights and an estimated contribution of $ 1.6 million (US) to the World Tourist revenue every year. With the computerised services available in a number of Youth Hostels for accommodation booking, more than 4 million people see the world through Youth Hostelling International. This system is popularly known as International Booking Network (IBN).