Still at your service after all these years

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 January, 2007, 12:00am

Wan Tak-chung joined YMCA International House as a bellboy when he was 18. The year was 1973. The 17-storey guesthouse in Waterloo Road had opened eight years earlier.

'The area had no hotel at all back then. Our rooms were cheap and cost just around HK$100 a night. It provided simple food and accommodation,' recalled Mr Wan, 51, who is one of the longest-serving staff members.

In the 1970s, half the hostel's customers were backpackers and the rest were budget travellers. The hostel provided single-bed rooms with shared bathrooms. There were also dormitory rooms with bunk beds.

Over the years, Mr Wan, who is now the guesthouse's assistant manager, has witnessed many changes. They have included seeing two more blocks built next door - in 1982 and 1995 - and the construction of Harbour View International House at 4 Harbour Road in 1985.

He accepted the latest changes were necessary.

Wan, who has become friends with many returning budget travellers over the years, said he accepted the new changes.

'We have to make changes or we can't stay competitive. I think that changes are good. Everything has to change with the times,' he said.