Iconic Airlie hostel forced to close its doors
AN ICONIC hostel that epitomised the stay of many backpackers in Airlie Beach has been forced to close its doors this afternoon due to the impacts of coronavirus.
Magnums Backpackers will temporarily shut from 4.30pm today with no set date for its return.
Australian Adventure Tourism Group, who own Magnums, executive chairman Elizabeth Hackett said the hostel was “left with no choice whatsoever” but to close.
“We can’t get backpackers into Airlie Beach,” she said.
“We simply don’t have anyone in house at the moment … we had zero occupancy on the day we closed anyway.”
Ms Hackett said social distancing rules combined with restrictions on travel made it very difficult for the hostel to stay open.
All but two staff members have also been stood down as a result of closure.
Magnums have blacked out their booking calendar online until October this year, but Ms Hackett said their reopening would depend on the length and impact of the pandemic.
“It’s not our decision, coronavirus will dictate when that will happen,” she said.
Magnums Backpackers was named the best backpackers accommodation in the region eight years running from 2011 to 2019 at the Whitsunday Tourism Awards.
Ms Hackett said it was “incredibly disappointing” to have to close the doors on “one of the oldest businesses in the region and the original backpacker businesses in Airlie Beach”.
However, the hostel, which has held pride of place in the centre of town for more than 30 years, has big plans to reopen when the time comes.