Rob McGuirk, President, Hostelling International


From: Wednesday January 23, 2019, 12:30 pm

To: Wednesday January 23, 2019, 2:00 pm

Rob McGuirk, President of Hostelling International


Rob joined the Board of YHA Victoria in 1989 when the CEO was John Mitchell a long-standing member of the club who passed away in 2016. Rob became the Chair of YHA Victoria in 1992 and a member of the National AYHA Board. He served as Vice Chair of AYHA, and in 1998 was the first Australian to be elected to the International Board. In 2004 and again in 2010 he was elected as a Vice President. During his time on the international board, he served as Chair or a member of many Committees including, Finance, IT, Marketing and the Asian Regional Committee.


In 2014 he was elected as Chair in Australia during the time that the mergers of the State based organizations were taking place. He was the first Chair of the single National organization, YHA Australia when the mergers were completed in 2017.


In October 2018 Rob ran for and was elected to the position of President of Hostelling International at the conference in Iceland. He is the first Australian to be elected to this position. He continues to serve as a Director of YHA Australia.


Brief History of Youth Hostels


The youth hostel movement was founded by a German schoolteacher, Richard Schirrmann in 1909. It began in Germany, but it grew rapidly such that by 1931 there were hostels operating in 12 European countries. This led in 1932 to the formation of the IYHF (International Youth Hostel Federation now known as “Hostelling International”) with Richard Schirrmann as its first President.


In Australia hostelling commenced in Victoria in September 1939. From there it grew to the other five States and the Northern Territory. In 1947 a national meeting took place that led to the forming of national body AYHA (a federation of the state and territory organizations). In 1948 AYHA became a member of the international organization. By way of a series of mergers commencing in 2010 one National Australian organization “YHA Australia” was finally achieved in September 2017.


Hostelling International Today

  • one of the largest providers of accommodation globally with more than 4,000 hostels
  • one of the world’s largest membership organizations with over 3.7 million members
  • provides around 35 million overnight each year
  • operates in more than 80 countries
  • accredited with both UNESCO(the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) and the UNWTO (UN World Tourism Organisation


YHA Australia Today

  • 75 hostels (32 owned and/or operated)
  • 8,297 beds with an average of 4,400 guests per night
  • 6 million overnights per year with guest from over 137 countries
  • Over 250,000 members
  • Turnover of $44m with Assets of $240m



Sofitel Hotel

Level 35, 25 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000

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