Sadly, Paul Sedon, who had been running a 50-bed Collingwood backpacker for 20 years before deciding to sell the Johnston Street building, will take years for the backpacker to return. Knowing that, I closed my business and retired last year.

Collingwood Backpackers Building currently on map

“I sold it and saw the backpacker’s place fall like a fly,” he said.

After a career as a lawyer, Sedon was delighted to run a backpacker. The vibrant young people who came from his door were charming and kind.

“My hostel was in the top four in Melbourne. I was able to accept backpackers without any problems,” said a 70-year-old woman. “Even if the COVID didn’t come, I would have kept it until I died.”

Similar to Ritz backpackers, there are several travelers in the two-story building where the caretaker works without paying the rent. Until the new owner redevelops it in a few months.

The loss of backpacker tourism has had a major economic impact on areas such as St Kilda where hospitality facilities are seeking workers.

Lord's Lodge hostel on Punt Road in Prahran. It is currently closed.

Lord’s Lodge hostel on Punt Road in Prahran. It is currently map

“It’s a little ghost town. It’s not as prosperous as it was then,” says Patrick Fase, who ran a hostel at Lord’s Lodge in the nearby Prahran for 14 years before the pandemic.

He predicts a shortage of cheap accommodation when overseas travel resumes, as many operators are priced from the suburbs of traditional backpackers that have been gentrified, especially given “real estate price trends.” Did.

“Opening is incredibly expensive [a hostel] Anyway – fire and safety requirements are very strict, “Furze said, switching to running a pub at Castlemaine.

According to Alex Hill, president of Adventure Tourism Victoria, the travel agencies that once specifically catered to young travelers on walking and skydiving trips have collapsed.

“We’re talking about 275,000 backpackers in the country before the pandemic, but at the moment we have 20-30,000,” he said. Most of the backpackers left went north to Queensland, he said.

Beyond the economic loss of the industry, which relied heavily on working holiday visas, Furze said the loss of Melbourne’s backpackers left a mark on the culture of the city.

“Backpackers can be noisy and messy, but in general they’re easygoing, just having a good time and really enjoying the freedom to leave,” he said. say. “You are laughing very much every day and have interesting cultural exchanges. I miss that aspect.”