ITB Berlin 2010Berlin, Germany — 10-14 March 2010
Welcome to our newest member – El Viajero Hostels
Interview with Alejandro Osorio – Development Director
Tell us your story. How did El Viajero Hostels get started?
El Viajero Hostels was founded by our CEO Federico Lavagna, a world traveller, who at a young age decided to bring his travel experiences to South America. Hostels have been around for quite a while, yet at the time they remained foreign to latin soil, so Federico aimed to be a pioneer in the area and to spread the true meaning of travelling: getting inspired, helping the community and inspiring change.
What makes El Viajero Hostels different from your competitors?
Our core business is relating to people and their experiences. We are a company made up of people who share the same passion for travelling. We make our decisions based on what we would love to live if we were in the others persons’ shoes. We care about our community and our surroundings, we will always aim to respect it and ask travellers to do so as well.
What is your favourite success story from your organisation?
We have been in business for thirteen years and have amazing stories to tell, however, over the years we have seen many relationships that have evolved in to something greater. From new friends who are now business partners, to couples that met during their stay and are now married! One of the most important parts of travelling is meeting the people who can change your life!
What can we expect to see from El Viajero Hostels in the future?
We are expanding through Latin America and always working on offering more and better experiences at our hostels! We are proud of our latin heritage and will continue to share it with our guests.
Which trends do you see in educational and active youth travel?
We see a general awareness and interest towards helping the community and learning about the culture. We consider this to be a great opportunity to generate consciousness towards local culture, create spaces where travellers can give back to the places they’re visiting and in this way, understand local people in a profound way.
How do you work to ensure the health and safety of young travellers involved with El Viajero Hostels?
Safety is one of our main concerns when it comes to travellers, and the best way to ensure it is by understanding the place where you are at: from a social and geographical stand point. If you understand the area where you are you can navigate it wisely and make better decisions that will not affect your health or your safety.
What is an industry challenge your organisation is facing at this time?
The market is growing quickly, and in places where we used to be pioneers, there are now hundreds of hostels. This makes it challenging to continue to be unique and offer different experiences. However, this is a challenge that we have always faced, and our creativity and our love for culture has always risen above the challenge. we are confident that our values and the environment at our hostels will continue to attract thousands of travellers over time.
What was your motivation to join WYSE Travel Confederation?
We’ve been reading your reports on youth travel for many years now. I realized joining the WYSE Travel Confederation was a great opportunity to meet other players in the industry, put our name out there and be up to date on what’s happening in the industry.
Have you attended a WYSE Travel Confederation event? If so, what was your experience with the event?
Unfortunately, we have not been to any of your events to date, however we are very excited to attend this year’s World Youth and Student Travel Conference in Edinburgh!
El Viajero Hostels is one of the most important chain of hostels in Latin America. It all started in Uruguay and quickly expanded to Colombia, with hostels that have won the hearts of millions of travellers in twelve years. It was recently bought by a major fund, and the target is to quickly expand to the rest of the Latin American countries, always keeping the great environment, spaces and memories that have characterised the brand.
For more information, visit their website: www.elviajerohostels.com
Membership: WYSE Travel Confederation Full Member
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