The 8th annual Hoscar awards ceremony took place in January 2009 to recognize the best hostels in the world. Over 23,000 properties from across the globe featured on Hostelworld.com were eligible for the awards and the prizes were based on approximately 1 million votes given by the Hostelworld customers. The winners adhered to the six required criteria: character, security, location, staff, fun and cleanliness.
In this competition the Hoscar award for the best hostel in South Africa was given to The Backpack & Africa Travel Centre. The Backpack & Africa Travel Centre is a five-star graded tourism business situated in Cape Town . The motto of the hostel is "Choose a meaningful experience and make a difference with The Backpack & Africa Travel Centre".
The Backpack & Africa Travel Centre is certified by Fair Trade in Tourism South Africa, which means that the tourism business follows to Fair Trade principles: fair wages and working conditions; fair operations in the purchasing and distribution of benefits; ethical business practice; respect for human rights; culture and the environment. This hostel focuses strongly on uplifting staff and for instance many refugees from Malawi, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe and Tanzania has been working at the hostel. The Backpack & Africa Travel Centre has also a positive and proactive attitude to working with staff affected by HIV/Aids.
Community involvement is a core feature of The Backpack's ethos and they are continuously involved with various social welfare projects. Examples of different activities vary from knitting blankets for sick babies, helping young children with HIV, to trying to amass used soccer boots for kids with nothing but a passion for the game. In 2009 the pet project was assisting underprivileged children in an after-school sport and homework program.
Text: Emily H?ckert
Images: The Backpack & Africa Travel Centre