Hostels are the star of tourism business

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Hostel business is growing leap and bound in Thailand as the business has gained popularity mostly among lone backpackers who want more than just a place to sleep but also an opportunity to interact with the hostel staff and other travelers too.

There are now more than 2,000 hostels across the country which cater to foreign tourists, including about 400 in Bangkok, representing 12 percent of accommodation for tourists. And the number is increasing rapidly.

Hostel business is expected to grow about 10 percent this year especially in popular tourist destinations such as Bangkok, Phuket and Chiang Mai, according to Mr Burim Othakanon, vice dean of education support of the college of management of Mahidol University.

The increased number of backpackers corresponds with the increased number of hostels, said Mr Thanat Pa-arayapat, a hostel owner. One reason which makes hostels popular among lone backpackers is that there is a common area in most hostels which provides a space for the tourists who travel alone to come into contact, to engage in a conversation and, eventually, to know each other or to start a relationship, he added.

Words of mouths among the backpackers and messages posted in the social media by these travelers help promote the popularity of the hostels besides their reasonable or cheap accommodation fee which seems to be the main attraction.

Mr Thanat said that hostel staff members should try to engage with the backpackers because the latter want to socialize too.

According to Visa Global Travel Intentions Study last year, 13,000 tourists from 25 countries were interviewed and it was discovered that 24 percent of the tourists were lone travelers compared to 10 percent a year earlier.