Number Of Hostels Worldwide

How Many Hostels Are There World Wide?

Hey, I’m sitting here in Cairns, Australia and was wondering “how many hostels are there in the world?”

Unfortunately, neither Google nor Hostelworld’s customer service knew the answer so I did my own research:

There are 15643 Hostels worldwide. 37% are located in Asia, 30% in Europe, 16% in South America, 9% in North America, 5% in Oceania, and 3% in Africa.

Let’s take a closer look.

15643 Hostels Worldwide

As you can see in the chart below, Asia is the leading continent when it comes to the total number of hostels worldwide.

Number Of Hostels Worldwide 2019

“But there other online travel agencies that claim to have XXX hostels listed.”

Well, there’s a difference between hostels and properties.

A hostel is a low-priced accommodation that focuses on a shared social experience. Guests typically also share their rooms in hostels. currently lists 36.000 properties and claims that around 17.000 of them are hostels. However, after a long discussion with the customer service, it seems like a few other low budget accommodations like B&Bs fall under the definition of “hostels”.

For this research, I’ve only considered “real” hostels.

Top-20 Countries With The Most Hostels

Thailand is killing it as you can see in the chart below!

Top-20 Countries With The Most Hostels

Tourism in Thailand exploded since 2009. They’ve quadrupled their yearly visitors from around 10 million in 2003 to over 40 million in 2019. [1]

Have a guess who’s going to visit Thailand for 2 months next year? – I’m BEYOND excited to check out, review and get new inspirations visiting all the hostels there! 😊

5829 Hostels in Asia (37%)

The chart shows only countries with 10 or more hostels.

Number of Hostels in Asia

4738 Hostels in Europe (30%)

The chart shows only countries with 40 or more hostels.

2434 Hostels in South America (16%)

The chart shows only countries with 10 or more hostels.

Number Of Hostels In South America

1454 Hostels in North America (9%)

The chart shows only countries with 10 or more hostels.

Number Of Hostels In North America

718 Hostels in Oceania (5%)

The chart shows only countries with 10 or more hostels.

Number Of Hostels In Oceania

470 Hostels in Africa (3%)

The chart shows only countries with 10 or more hostels.

Number Of Hostels In Africa

Hostel Density

Hostel Density Rate Per Continent

In the following chart, I’ve divided the number of hostels by the number of inhabitants for each continent.

Let’s take Africa as an example:

  • Hostel density rate = 470 hostels / 618.281.288 inhabitants = 1/1.315.000

That means there’s one hostel for every 1.315.000 inhabitants in Africa. As a general rule: The higher this number the higher the potential growth for additional hostels.

Does that mean you should build your hostel in Africa instead of in Oceania? – NO!

There are more factors like the general demand, political situation, and the number of visiting tourists that play into the growth potential of your hostel’s location.

Furthermore, the less common hostels are in an area the more educational work is needed: What is a hostel? Why should I stay at a hostel compared to other accommodation types? etc.

The USA is the perfect example of this. For more information, read my article on why the US hasn’t embraced hostels yet.

Nevertheless, that’s something you should be aware of when starting your hostel.

Top-20 Countries With The Highest Hostel Density Rate

The one thing that surprised me in the chart below is that the USA rank on place 10. To be honest, I assumed it would be among the top #3 because it seems like the whole hostel industry is talking about this huge growth potential for hostels there.

Another great example of how facts tell us the truth.

Top-20 Countries with the lowest hostel density worldwide

Do NOT use this chart as a reason to throw away your plans to start a hostel. Be aware that there are a lot more factors to consider when choosing the right location.

Top-20 Countries With The Lowest Hostel Density Rate

Top-20 Countries with the lowest hostel density worldwide

Again, do NOT use this chart as a reason to throw away your plans to start a hostel. There are more factors to consider!

Your country isn’t listed above but you’d love to have more insights?
No worries, you’re just a click away to get your stats.

Projected Number of Hostels Worldwide in 2020-2025

According to Phocuswright, the revenue of the hostel industry is projected to grow at 5.5% per year. This leads to an average growth rate of approximately 3% per year (assuming an average inflation rate of 2.5% per year).

As with all projections, take it as a rough guesstimate rather than a fact.

Number Of Hostels Worldwide 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024, 2025


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29 thoughts on “Number Of Hostels Worldwide

  1. Hi,

    I like your charts! Do you think I can use some of your charts on my blog?

    Kind regards

    1. Hi Christian,
      thanks for the compliment! I appreciate it.
      Sure! Feel free to use as many as you want as long as you give credit by linking back to this page.

  2. How cool is that “buy me a coffee”-thing?!
    I’ve never seen that before!

    1. My pleasure, Tia 🙂
      Helping out is what TheHostelHelper is all about.

  3. … currently writing my business plan!
    Thanks for all the stats! Especially your Google sheet!
    That was exactly what I needed 🙂

  4. Wow. I thought there are way more hostels worldwide to be honest…
    But I’m actually glad to see that there’s so much more potential for us <3

    Emma from Wales

    1. Hi Emma,
      the main issue is that there’s not an international definition for what a hostel really is.
      Hence, some B&Bs and hotels could be also called a “hostel”.

  5. Wow, I’m surprised by how few hostels there are in North America…
    Super interesting. Thanks!

  6. JESUS!!
    Thailand is completely crushing it!!! :O
    And I thought we’re already located in a competitive country (NZ)……

    1. Hi Mae,
      the number of visiting tourists in combination with the population would probably show a different picture.
      That said, in my survey about the #1 challenge of hostel owners, many hostels from Thailand mentioned their “cut-throat” competition and the ongoing price war…
      You can get read all the answers here.

  7. Yikes! I’m really surprised by how many hostels there are in Thailand!
    And: highest hostel density in Iceland 😵
    Super interesting.

    1. Hi Kathryn,
      in my survey about the #1 challenge of hostel owners, one manager said that starting a hostel is becoming a “trend” like a fashion trend. He claims that to be the major reason for the price war that is currently taking place in Thailand.

  8. We’re located in Spain and I thought that’s the #1 country when it comes to the number of hostels because they are everywhere…. and now I see that Thailand has more hostels than Portugal and Spain combined :O

  9. I want to to thank you for this great read!! I definitely loved every bit of it. I have got you bookmarked to check out new things you post…

  10. Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular post! It is the little changes that produce the biggest changes. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Nice post. Intriguing subject and approach. Ill be coming back some time within the not too distant future.

  12. Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to generate a very good article… but what can I say… I put things off a lot and never seem to get anything done.

  13. I just got up from sleep and I am already reading your post. It means something! Really useful post. Thankx!

  14. Its about time I piped in although this was a pretty cool belief for.

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