Accessible Holiday Guide from Responsible Travel

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Responsible Travel in the UK connects the world’s best small holiday companies with travellers looking for more from their holiday than just a brief stay.  They offer personal holidays or holidays in a small group from over 375 small and specialist tour companies in 190+ countries.   Convinced that small holiday companies are run by interesting people who founded them out of a deep love for destinations, cultures, landscapes and wildlife, their aim is treat local people and places well.   Responsible Travel now has an Accessible Holiday Guide about accessible travel for people with disabilities.   It covers places to stay and things to do, and has advice on travelling with a disability.

As the website points out, the world’s travelling population is getting older, with varying access needs. Many businesses are starting to hear the message that tourists who travel with special needs are increasing in number. The term ‘purple pound’ or ‘dollar’ has even been coined to describe this rapidly growing worldwide market.   Martin Heng, Accessible Travel Manager & Editorial Adviser, Lonely Planet (Australia) is a world-travelled wheelchair user.  He writes on the website that “Baby boomers are now retiring with access issues, whether they identify as disabled or not, they are increasingly subject to varying degrees of disability, whether it is hearing, sight or mobility. And this is a market that I think the smart national tourism bodies are actually thinking about. Examples of these are England, Scotland and Wales, on the back of the last Olympics and Paralympics in London – but also Catalonia and Germany”.

Follow on Twitter: @r_travel @Martin_Heng @lonelyplanet

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Boomers “agents of change” in tourism: SMG Consulting

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Boomers and seniors at the Tower of London

SMG Consulting is a Californian company which carries out research and develops strategic plans and tourism marketing programs in tourism, recreation, and hospitality.  They have just released their eight annual SMG Tourism Outlook for 2015.  In it, they describe several agents of change in the industry, including demographics and consumer behaviour (the others are climate, and tourism funding).

The report points out that by 2029, more than 20% of the total U.S. population will be over the age of 65. Although the number of Baby Boomers will decline through mortality, this shift toward an increasingly older population is expected to endure. By 2056, the population 65 years and over is projected to become larger than the population under 18 years. While Boomers are getting older, they still represent 25% of the U.S. population with the highest disposable income, a significant share of the tourism industry bottom line.The report goes on to say that today’s Baby Boomer is quite different, however, than a decade ago, even a year ago. Following the free spirited lead of their Millennial kids and Gen Xer co-workers, Baby Boomers are mimicking their leisure patterns and pursuit of fun in their older years. The report calls this “Aging Younger”.

Because of this, some traditional pursuits of older generations are in decline.  For example, the report points out that in the USA, golf is on the downswing.   As Baby Boomers age and move on to other passions, Gen Xers and Millennials are not replacing the void. Following suit, Baby Boomers are also spending more of their precious time in a variety of activities such as food pairings and motorcycle touring making them less inclined to play the traditional 18 rounds. A similar situation exists in skiing, that is, as Baby Boomers age and turn to other passions, Generation Xers and Millennials are not replacing the volume or frequency.

Boomers are healthier and wealthier than ever, and more willing to engage in numerous activities. For example, WanderLust, a yoga music foodie festival, and the SnowGlobe music festival, attract both a younger and older audience. Priorities with health, community and ecology, Wanderlust festivals are popping up all over, extending the life of tired destinations and many of their traditional Baby Boomer visitor segments. Remember, Baby Boomers were raised on Rock ‘n’ Roll and self-expression. Baby Boomers who are the parents of Millennials want new experiences too. They like music festivals and yoga, which keep them young, and the destination even younger. Chasing youth is a great revenue generator, especially for mature destinations that desperately need repositioning.

Source: SMG Consulting (http://smgonline.net/).  Follow on Twitter: @SMGtahoe

ICT and coastal tourism for all: European conference

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Cote d Azur veiw of the coast

Euro-Mediterranean m-Tourism institutions and professionals recently shared their ideas and suggestions on ICT and Coastal Tourism for All with 80 professionals attending the 4th Telecom Valley m-Tourism Day in Nice, France (http://www.investincotedazur.com/en/info/news/ict-and-coastal-tourism-for-all-in-the-euro-mediterranean/).  The session was part of the Digital Economy Fortnight in PACA. Coastal tourism was discussed in terms of  access for all, including people with disabilities, families, seniors, and others who need better access. Presenting bodies included institutions (Riviera Cote d’Azur CRT, Nice Cote d’Azur CCI, NECstour) and digital companies which are developing solutions related tosuch visitors.  Included were the WACAN Agency in Sophia Antipolis, which has developed a smartphone application for walksfor those with visual and hearing loss. The AISM (Italian Association for multiple sclerosis), BALEARES TURISMO, CARPEVITAM NGO, DEFISMED, FRIULI VENEZIA GIULIA TURISMO, GEOLIVES) also presented projects.  .

Jean-Bernard Titz, President of Telecom Valley and leader of the m-Tourism commission, announced the release of the commission’s latest white paper (www.m-tourism-day.eu) focusing on “Tourism, ICT and Disability”, which is the result of consultation involving many beneficiaries and experts in tourism, ICT, law,  and the Silver Economy (senior citizens economy).

Follow on Twitter: @TelecomValley @jbdevhelp @CotedAzur4Biz

Yorkshire tourist attractions praised for accessibility

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Silver Travel Advisor logo from their website

A number of Yorkshire tourist attractions have been praised for being accessible to older travellers. The National Railway Museum, in York, RHS Garden Harlow Carr, near Harrogate, Fountains Abbey, near Ripon, Ampleforth Abbey, near Helmsley and Malton’s Eden Camp Museum, all received plaudits from Silver Travel Advisor which is a review and advice website for mature travellers.

Silver Travel Advisor managing director Debbie Marshall is very impressed with the level of consideration and detail that Yorkshire’s tourist attractions have gone to in order to accommodate older or less able guests.   “Many of them offer mobility scooters, lifts and ramps, and all the sites visited have gone to great lengths to ensure the comfort and welcome of the UK’s aging population” she said.

Silver Travel Advisor is a website run by a team of mature travel industry professionals.  Members can join for free and are invited to contribute to the site’s growing collection of impartial mature travel reviews, travel advice and travel tips – all written exclusively by and for mature travellers.

Follow on Twitter: @SilverTravelAd @Welcome2Yorks

Biggest tourism and travel spenders are the Baby Boomers

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Tourism Review (http://www.tourism-review.com/) recently carried out a survey of travel agencies and professionals in the tourism industry to get their opinions on changing trends with travel, consumer expectations, and booking.  They came up with seven important trends and their likely effects.  One of these was the fact that it is Baby Boomers – those in their late forties to mid sixties – who are the biggest spenders.  TR notes that for any tourism business, be they hotel, travel agency, or airline, it is crucial to keep up with trends in spending and technology in order to stay ahead of the competition and retain their evolving consumer base.  Businesses within the sector need to keep an eye on where their revenue is coming from.  Spending habits tend to be separated into generations and while agencies focus on attracting the youth market, they only account for 9% of travel expenditure in the last year.  It is the Baby Boomers spending the most, bringing in 60% of the revenue.

Follow on Twitter: @Tourism_Review

EU Commission ‘Mainstreaming Accessibility’ Across All European Tourism Policies

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At the EU Tourism Stakeholders’ Conference, “Mind the Accessibility Gap“, Pedro Ortún, Director for Service Industries, Directorate General Enterprise and Industry declared that accessibility is to be a permanent element of the EU’s future tourism policies.  Speaking to an audience of over 200 tourism professionals and representatives of NGOs,  Ortún laid out the Commission’s vision for tourism policy development and actions in the coming years.  “The ‘Key Enabling Themes’ (KETS) for the future of European Tourism include accessibility, as a permanent element”, said  Ortún.   He pointed to the Commission’s continued focus on quality, sustainability and reaching new tourism markets, particularly the seniors market.   As the fifth largest sector in the European economy, tourism should be seen as a key driver of growth and jobs – and therefore deserving of wide recognition and support from Member States and the European Union as a whole.  “Mainstreaming accessibility means that access for all citizens has to be integrated in all our tourism activities at every level”, Ortún concluded.

 Source: European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT).  Follow on Twitter: @EUaccesstourism  @EU_enterprise

Tourism Business magazine NZ says Accessible Tourism increasingly important

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Senior tourist at Tekapo church New Zealand

Tourism Business magazine is New Zealand’s premier magazine for the tourism industry.  Edited by Annie Gray, it brings important news and tips to the industry every second month.  In the latest issue (Dec-Jan 13/14), a “Something to Ponder” article points out that Accessible Tourism is going to be increasingly important to the NZ tourism industry, and that businesses need to cater to the older demographic.  The proof, says the article, can be found in the results from the 2013 NZ Census.  In a snapshot about the age of NZ’s population, one of the most startling aspects is that people aged 50-69 make up more than 23% of the population and number nearly one million (up by 21.5% since the last 2006 census).  The article goes on to say that those aged 65-69 show the biggest increase (32%0, followed by those 60-64 years old (almost 30% increase).

Why does this mean the NZ tourism, travel, and hospitality industry should improve access?  Because disability increases with age.  Not only that, but it is older generations who have the time and money to spend on tourism.  And, more than 40% of NZ’s international visitors are in the older (50+) age groups, with the fastest growth rate for international visitors occuring in the 60-69 year-old demographic.  According to NZ MED, this trend will continue.

Follow on Twitter: @tourismbusiness @MBIEgovtnz

Accessibility Pass extended to needs of seniors

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Boomer couple from 50 plus Hellas website

ACCESSIBILITY PASS, the global certification scheme that classifies hotels’ accessibility level based on their infrastructure, services and personnel skills, is extending its scope to ensure that it addresses the accessibility needs of Senior Citizens. The Greek older people’s organization 50plus Hellas is contributing valuable input regarding particular aspects of the Senior Citizen arm of the scheme. 50plus Hellas is a non-governmental and not-for-profit organization, which aims to improve the quality of life of those over 50 years of age in Greece. The ACCESSIBILITY PASS “Senior Citizen Friendly” certification is awarded to hotels successfully assessed for fulfilling the scheme’s related criteria.  Source: ENAT Twitter: @EUaccesstourism

VisitEngland and others write about the importance of the ageing market

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Picture of beach cabins on the front of the Visit England report

In a new publication on “Domestic Leisure Tourism Trends for the next Decade”, VisitEngland (England’s National Tourism Board) identifies 5 trends influencing domestic tourism in the next ten years.  The first on the list is demography, with a concurrent trend in the need for accessibility.  The report states that:

Changes in the population and demographic make-up of England over the next decade will have a transformative effect on society – and significant implications for consumers’ leisure choices. Common to many of the trends in this section is the changing shape of the family – something evident in the rising number of older people and grandparents’ increasing involvement in childcare, and also in the diverse structures and types of family. Overall, the population of England will grow, but this growth will not be spread evenly across age groups. There will be a very well understood trend is the growth in the number of older people and rise in the average age of the country – referred to as the ageing society. Not every section of society is growing; there will actually be a decline in the number of people aged 35-49 over the next few years, leading to a ‘squeezed middle’ generation. The medium term future will also see a rise in the number of younger people, as a result of a sustained rise in fertility rates since the mid 1990s – a baby boom.

The report goes on to say that the implications of these shifts on domestic leisure tourism will be profound. The rising number of older people not only signals a change in the needs of this particular group – there is an implication, for example, for all types of business to meet accessibility needs – but also a shift in their attitudes. The next retired generation will be heavily comprised of the baby boomer cohort, who differ greatly from previous older generations in their attitudes to leisure – they are generally more affluent and far more leisure focussed than previous generations of older people.  Businesses and destinations in the tourism market will need to adapt to cater for an increasing number of intergenerational family holidays.  The ageing population will intensify – in three decades time, there will be more than 9 million over 75s in England (twice as many as there are currently) making the importance of catering for both older and intergenerational groups a crucial implication for decades to come. The appetite for travel and tourism amongst the oldest groups in society is likely to increase over time (‘healthy life expectancy’ is increasing, as well as overall life expectancy), but
accommodation and travel options that can cater for people with reduced mobility will be in great demand.

Of course, an ageing society is not going to just affect English domestic tourism.  Access Tourism New Zealand has for a long time been publishing blogs about the need for the New Zealand tourism and travel sector to sit up and take notice of demographic trends.  New Zealand is getting older.  According to the 2013 NZ Census, the median age (half are younger, and half older, than this age) of the population continued to increase, reaching 38.0 years in 2013 compared with 35.9 years in 2006.  The number of people aged 50–69 years rose to 989,364, an increase of 21.5% since 2006. People in this age range made up 23.3% of the population in 2013, compared with 20.2% in 2006. The number of people aged 65 years and over continued to increase. In 2013, there were 607,032 people in this age group, making up 14.3% of the population. This was an increase from 12.3% of the population in 2006 and 12.1% in 2001.  Over 73,000 people were aged 85 years or over at the time of the 2013 Census. There was a 29.4% increase in this age group since 2006.

In the USA, Mark Bradbury (senior director, Insights and Integrated Marketing, AARP Media Sales) explain why 50+ travellers will rule the airways, railways and hotel hallways into 2014 and beyond.  According to Bradbury, the 50+ traveller is the lifeblood of the travel industry.  They are responsible for 48% of all vacation expenditures, up from 42% just five years ago—a trend that will continue as 50+ population growth outpaces that of 18-49 by a 3:1 margin over the next decade, according to the U.S. Census. People 50+ consider travel more of a necessity than a luxury, as evidenced by a post-recession increase of 25% in their travel spending. Since 2007, 50+ vacation spending is up nearly $20 million, compared to a $1.7 billion drop among 18-49. 50+ travellers spend 23% more on domestic vacations and 22% more on foreign vacations than younger travellers, and spend more high-end. With more time and money at their disposal, older Boomers eager for new experiences are growing the 60+ segment of the travel market. Since Boomers started turning 60 just seven years ago, the 60+ travel market has grown by 24%, or 3.6 million travellers.  Younger Boomers value gratification that can be realized today.  Boomers are at the core of several travel trends, including: ecotourism, adventure travel, medical tourism, multigenerational travel, passion/hobby vacations (that is, combining a vacation with a passion, such as biking, language learning, food, wine, etc.), and spiritual travel. They are also increasingly switched on to digital media.  In summary, no one travels more than Boomers, and no age group is wealthier.

Worldwide, older people are also increasingly switched on to digital media.  In New Zealand 77% of those aged 55-64 are connected to the internet, 61% of those aged 65-74, and 32% of those 75+.

In other areas, SilverGroup reports that those 50+ comprise 35% of all travel and 80% of all cruises in the EC,  Japanese 50+ will comprise 80% of the total tourism dollar across key Asian Markets by 2015, and Chinese 50+ will comprise 39% of total overseas travel and 66% of spending this year (2014 – MasterCard Asia Pacific and ING).   By 2015, those 65+ will spend US$129bn on travel and leisure (SilverGroup).

For tips on travelling as a senior, visit Tourism Review.

@VisitEnglandBiz @VisitEngland @Tourism_Review @SilverGroup @StatisticsNZ

EC: Barrier-free travel: a win-win for society and EU tourism

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Wheelchair sign at a beac from the EC website

The European Commission Enterprise and Industry magazine reports that barrier-free travel is a win-win for society and EU tourism.  Making tourism more accessible is essential to the development of new markets and services that will help Europe’s tourism industry thrive. By making basic adjustments to facilities and information services, senior citizens and travellers with special access needs will promote equal opportunities, social inclusion, and boost the tourism industry.

Senior citizens and people with special needs have the desire and the right to travel like everyone else. However, their travel experiences are often restricted by physical barriers such as transportation constraints, inaccessible accommodation and tourism sites and a general lack of information.  Senior citizens are an essential element to the European tourism industry. Currently, more than 128 million Europeans are between 55 and 80 years old, and according to current demographic trends, this proportion is expected to increase. However, the potential for senior travel has not yet been fully exploited: Only 41 % of seniors between 55 and 75 currently travel.  Tourism authorities, as well as industry and senior organisations, are being encouraged to engage in a stronger public-private partnership. In this context, the Commission is preparing to launch an initiative, ‘Europe, the best destination for seniors’, which is designed to increase the flow of senior tourists, particularly during the low and medium seasons, between countries both inside and outside the EU.

According to the World Health Organization/World Bank, an estimated one billion people in the world live with disabilities. Together with their families, that means approximately a third of the world’s population is directly or indirectly affected by disability.  Many people have access needs, whether or not related to a physical condition (e.g. wheelchair users, visual, hearing impairment, allergies). For example, older and less mobile people or people with pushchairs have access needs, which can become a huge obstacle when going on holiday.  For those people, travelling can be a real challenge, as finding the information on accessible services, checking luggage on a plane, booking a room with special access needs often prove to be difficult, costly and time consuming.

In order to promote accessible tourism, the Commission this year (2013), dedicated European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) awards 2013 to locations that excel in accessible tourism.  Destinations in 19 countries were recognised for their efforts in developing accessible tourism offers.  In addition, barriers that restrict travel within or to Europe are being lifted. The EU boasts a comprehensive set of passenger rights which apply regardless of the transport used.

Follow on Twitter: @EU_enterprise

Auckland conference on understanding and marketing to older consumers

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Senior couple on the beach from the conference brochure

 A two-day conference in Auckland next March will discuss targeting and marketing to older consumers.  Young at Heart will be chaired by Doug Lloyd, senior lecturer in marketing and advertising at Auckland University of Technology. Lloyd recently gave a presentation (The Great Ignored:  How the Media Industry Fails to Embrace the Mega-trend of Ageing) at the Third International Conference on Ageing and Society in Chicago.  Subjects to be discussed at the conference will include defining market potential, knowing market needs and behaviour, tactics for success, and strategies for customer retention.  There will also be post-conference workshops.  Speakers include those from business, marketing firms (such as Senioragency, which is dedicated to 50+), organizations like the NZ Symphony Orchestra, NGOs, and one from one of New Zealand’s few accessible tourism companies (Kasteel Craw, Accessible New Zealand).

This is an important market sector.  In New Zealand for example, the over 50s are responsible for purchasing:

  • 45% of all new cars sold, and 80% of top end cars
  • 50% face care products
  • 55% of coffee
  • 40% yoghurt and dairy products
  • 25% toys
  • 35% of total travel and 80% of all cruise bookings

In addition, they have an  intangible influence on both younger and older family member purchasing decisions

Worldwide, the seniors economy ranks No. 3 after the United States and China. In the USA, there are more than 100 million consumers who are 50 or older.  They:

  • generate $7 trillion a year in goods and services
  • are generally better off financially,
  • have special interests in leisure travel, health, exercise, internet shopping and digital gadgets
  • growing in number yearly
  • are one of the country’s prime engines of commerce and jobs whether working or spending retirement dollars
  • account for close to half of all spending in entertainment, apparel and other important sectors
  • hold 80% of the country’s personal net worth

As has been pointed out on this website many times before (1, 2 etc), the New Zealand tourism industry ignores this market at its peril.

New Zealand still mostly ignores the important older-tourist market

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There are some in New Zealand who recognize the importance of older people to New Zealand’s tourism industry.  For example, Professor Ian Yeoman (Victoria University Wellington) noted at the recent New Zealand HAPNZ holiday parks conference that wealth and power is now in the hands of senior citizens (Inside Tourism 937/11/7/13). Yeoman also talked about the importance of extended family holidaying, saying that today, grandparents have more contact with their grandchildren than in the past. “Grandparents are extremely important to society. They are spending three times as much time with their grandchildren than grandparents did 40 years ago because they are living longer and are wealthier, and are caregivers because both parents are working”.  This often means that it is grandparents who actually take their grandchildren on holiday.  AA Tourism CEO Moira Penman notes that  “empty nesters” tend to have more disposable income and more time up their sleeves after their children leave home and many are keen to try new experiences.  “Health and fitness is also high on their radar, so activity-based holidays are attractive amongst this demographic,” said Penman.   “Many tourism operators have already recognized this interest and have tailored more active holiday packages and products to this age group and we can only encourage this positive approach.”  In addition, says Penman, New Zealanders in older age groups are exploring more domestic holiday destinations and  22% planned on travelling somewhere new in 2013, compared with only 15% in 2012.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand tourism industry in general still maintains disproportionate focus on the youth market.  For example, Tourism New Zealand (TNZ – the official marketer of New Zealand) has had a lot of projects recently targeting youth.  In fact, the youth market is one of five sector markets on the TNZ website (the others being Film and Hobbit, Business Events, Cruise Sector, and Rugby World Cup), and there is also a dedicated Youth Market team at TNZ .  However, there is no such dedicated team for older visitors in spite of the fact that the most recent data available (for October 2013) shows that 46% of visitors to New Zealand where aged 45 or older.  This negelect is also in spite of the fact that TNZ GM tourism operations Paul Yeo thinks the older market segment will grow.   Active boomers are a “distinct segment that we believe will grow and as people remain healthy and wealthy then there will be plenty of 80 year old bungy jumpers and skydivers and it is a segment we really think and hope will continue to grow,” Yeo told the Great Adventure conference in Wellington recently.  Why no dedicated team for older visitors?

Certainly, other countries have not been neglecting the older age bracket.  The Australians, for example, have been aware of demographic issues affecting their tourism industry for some time.  Like many Western countries, the Australian population is ageing. It is predicted that by 2050 around a quarter of the population in Australia will be over 65 years because the large Baby Boomer segment, declining fertility rates, ageing families, and increasing life expectancies.  The way Baby Boomers “use their time and money when they retire will affect the domestic tourism industry and their choice to travel domestically, internationally or not to travel at all is an important consideration for the industry”, states a recent Tourism Australia report.  The report goes on to describe how Gen X and Boomer Australians spent the most on tourism per capita between 2000 and 2006, and gives other analyses by age group.

And of course, when considering the older market, attention must be paid to access in tourism, travel, and hospitality, because disability increases with age.  While the New Zealand pays little attention to the older visitor market, it pays almost none to the huge market of people with disabilities.  Compare that to Australia, where  regionally, the State of Victoria has encourages accessible tourism by issuing an Accessible Business Toolkit for tourism businesses, Queensland and New South Wales have also worked on improving tourism access, and Western Australia and other states have  Access Tourism Strategies.  We have none.

Euro travel forum looks at seniors coach tourism

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Tour bus

The International Road Transport Union (IRU) will hold the 8th European Bus and Coach Forum on theme of “European group tourism by coach: Driving seniors and out of season tourism. The forum will take place in Kortrijk, Belgium on 17 October.  The first interactive panel debate on the “Current situation, market potential, and opportunities” will be led by Alain Libéros, Deputy Head of Unit, European Commission, DG Enterprise and Industry, Tourism Policy.  It will  feature a keynote address by Eszter Ruga, project officer, ’’Healtour 2011” EU Calypso project on research into seniors’ travel specificity, their expectations, and information about this market.  The second panel will discuss practical problems and solutions to “bring seniors on board”.

The ageing of the worlds population is a tourism megatrend

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Japanese senior citizens

An Australian report “Our Future World: Global Megatrends that will Change the way we Live” has been released by The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO).  The global foresights project reports on six megatrends or collection of trends, patterns of economic, social or environmental activity that will change the way people live and the science and technology products they demand.  The six interrelated megatrends identified are: limited global resources, environment destruction, the rise of Asia, an increase in internet connectivity, the rise of social relationships and experiences over products, and the ageing population.  In regard to the later megatrend, the report points out that Australia and many other countries that make up the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have an ageing population.

In fact, the whole world is getting older.  In 1950 8% of the world’s people were over 65 years old. This grew to 11.2% by 2011 and is forecast to reach 22% by 2050, when the world will have more than 2 billion people over the age of 60 years. The extent of ageing is less pronounced in developing countries where 9% of the population is over 60 years old today and this is forecast to grow to 20% 2050.  In contrast, populations in developed countries are ageing faster.  In Australia for example – which is an important tourism market for New Zealand – demographic forecasts by the Bureau of Statistics show that in 2011 14% of the population was aged 65 years and over; by 2056 this proportion is predicted to be 23-25%.   Over the same time period the median age will rise from 37 years to between 41.0 and 45.2 years.   In Japan – another important tourism market for New Zealand – the ageing population is even more pronounced.  Japan has the fastest speed of ageing amongst the world’s countries. In 1950 4.5% of the population was over 70 years old. By 2010 it was 23%. Currently, one quarter of Japan’s population is 65 or older. By 2050 it will be 40%.

Another CSIRO report on tourism for the government of Queensland (Hajkowicz, S., in preparation: The future of tourism in Queensland: Global megatrends creating opportunities and challenges over the coming twenty years) predicts a growth in seniors travel.  It notes the importance of the ageing population on tourism and that the older traveller must be understood.  For example, retirees tend to have relatively long trips at relatively low spend-per-day, a relatively high proportion stay in caravan parks and camp grounds, and they are more likely to undertake cultural and heritage activities, increasingly eat out, and visit local attractions, as well as visiting friends and relatives. However, this is not a homogenous demographic.  Many want higher comfort levels and quality of service.   This tourism megatrends document will form a basis for the upcoming Global Eco2012 Conference in Noosa, Queensland in November.

As Access Tourism New Zealand has pointed out before (most recently, 28 August, but also 16 August, 4 July, and many many more articles that can be accessed by searching for “Ageing”),  tourism in New Zealand must not continue to ignore in its policy and in its promotion campaigns the ageing trend in terms of trying to attracting visitors to our shores.

Greek Ministry of Tourism strategizes to attract more senior visitors

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Parthenon Greece

The Greek Ministry of Culture and Tourism is planning to launch a strategy to attract more senior tourists to the country, reports GTP.   A study conducted by the Research Institute for Tourism (ITEP) found that senior tourism could develop into an essential factor for the lengthening of the tourism season in Greece, because most seniors are not constrained by having to return home to employment. The study showed that by 2030, senior tourists will constitute 24 percent of the international tourism market.  Greek tourism minister Olga Kefalogianni said a targeted communication campaign would be planned to attract senior tourists to Greece.  “The increase of senior tourism (in Greece) is a strategic objective,” she said.  ITEP’s research showed that tourists over the age of 55 are less interested in taking a vacation for swimming and sunbathing; cultural tourism was more popular for seniors, especially for holiday-goers from Austria (26 percent), The Netherlands (22 percent), Belgium (22 percent) and Germany (21 percent).

As part of the campaign, Greek tourism enterprises will promote their services at the upcoming Swedish tourism fair Senior,  the biggest fair in the country for an active older audience.   Senior will take place 15-17 October 2013 at the Stockholmsmassan exhibition center. In its 19th year, last year’s fair attracted 139 exhibitors and some 10,200 visitors.

American Baby Boomers travel habits

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 Boomers looking at a museum exhibit

Recently, Lab42 carried out a survey of 500 IT-using American Baby Boomers planning a holiday in 2013.  American Boomers outspend other generations by $400 billion every year on consumer goods & services, and have an average annual disposable income of $24,000.   In addition, Americans aged 50+ account for 80% of all luxury travel spending (Kempfer).  The survey revealed that:

  • 51% planned their vacation with no overall budget in mind
  • 44% planned to travel with family, 31% with a partner, 9% with friends, and 10% alone
  • 41% want to stay/sleep comfortably and would spend less in other areas, 34% do not consider accommodation costs, and 25% are willing to stay/sleep less comfortably in order to spend more in other areas
  • 44% say that personal safety is an extremely important consideration
  • 78% used at least one website to plan their vacation, 61% would take a Smartphone, and 64% would take a laptop (Lab42)

Twitter: @Lab42Research @andreakempfer

Destination Gippsland releases its Accessible Tourism Plan

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Front cover of Gippsland accessible tourism plan showing holidayer ina wheelchair

The Gippsland Accessible Tourism Plan has been released by Destination Gippsland, Victoria, Australia.  Gippsland tourism operators are being encouraged to improve access for the disabled as part of the new plan. The Gippsland Accessible Tourism Plan will run over two years and is the first of its kind for Gippsland.  Tourism operators will be provided with resources to help make their businesses more accessible to people with a disability said Terry Robinson, CEO of Destination Gippsland, one of the organisations involved in implementing the plan.  As part of the plan, businesses are asked to make entries and exits to their premises and their websites more accessible for people with disabilities.

In releasing the document, Destination Gippsland points out that:

  • Australia’s population is ageing and there is a growing market for travellers with accessibility needs.
  • Almost one in five people has a disability of which nearly 90% cent take a holiday each year.
  • People with a disability account for some 8.2 million overnight trips and spend $8 billion or 11 per cent of Australia’s overall tourism expenditure (Victorian Employer’s Chamber of Commerce)
  • When you consider parents travelling with children in prams and larger groups that include people with a disability the potential benefits of accessible tourism to your business are even greater.

The website also gives links to further resources such as:

  • Vision Australia: For ten tips to make your website more accessible click here
  • Tourism Victoria’s Accessible Tourism Plan aims to encourage the Victorian tourism industry to see the social and economic benefits of offering tourism products and services for people with access requirements.
  • To view the Good Access is Good Business guide click here
  • Victorian Office for Disability was established in September 2006 to lead cross government approaches to mainstream disability policy. Its website includes links to resources designed to promote disability access and inclusion. Visit the website by clicking here.
  • Travability – travability.travel
  • Travellers Aid Australia – travellersaid.org.au
  • Arts Access Victoria – artsaccess.com.au/

Interactive website offers travel reviews, info for over-50s

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Silver Travel Advisor was founded in 2010 by Debbie Marshall who has more than 25 years’ experience working in the travel industry. A keen skier, walker and adventurer, she created Silver Travel Advisor to cater for the requirements of mature travellers who enjoy discovering the world at a slightly more leisurely pace. Here she describes her work.

Picture of people cruising taken from the Silver Travel Advisor website

Silver Travel Advisor is a travel review and information website exclusively for travellers aged 50 and over, with thousands of independent reviews about holidays, attractions, places to visit for days out, restaurants and hotels worldwide.  There are also tips and suggestions about where to go and what to do on holiday, including recommendations for accessible travel, and a section on Limited Mobility Travel and Holidays with Care.

Visitors to the site can sign up to become a member. It’s free to join and receive a monthly newsletter as well as details of the latest holiday prize draw. Members are encouraged to contribute their reviews and comments for others to enjoy reading, as well as to join in the many topics on the popular Silver Travel Forum.

The site aims to provide visitors with a useful and friendly travel information service, and for those who need a little extra help, there is a team of retired travel professionals who enjoy sharing their many years of experience and answering enquiries.  Just send an email to service@silvertraveladvisor.com and they will be happy to offer suggestions.

@SilverTravelAd has over 15,000 followers on Twitter.

Baby Boomers grew international tourism and will continue to influence it

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Group of Boomers and seniors on a walk

Baby Boomers have been shaping USA travel choices for the last five decades, and now, the travel industry is redoubling its efforts to win the hearts and wallets of people aged 49 to 67, writes Stephanie Rosenbloom in the New York Times.  Why?  Because it is a large part of the population – 26% in the States – and there controls the lion’s share of the country’s disposable income.    And,  according to a Gallup research, American Boomers – especially leading edge Boomers – feel more positive, rather than less so, as they age past their late 40s and into their retirement years.

“Whether it’s a yen for Wi-Fi in the Serengeti or a disdain for bus tours, Boomers’ latest needs, whims, and aspirations are determining 2013 large and small vacation trends,” writes Rosenbloom.  Some trends?  Shorter itineraries, exotic locations with modern amenities, multigenerational travel, emphasis on local colour, and customized travel options.

The Association of Travel Marketing Executives warns that travel industry organizations that fail to identify and heed the boomers’ unique qualities could soon find themselves in serious trouble (Kim Ross). Indeed, amongst other things, Boomers consider travel to be a necessity, not a luxury, have travelled more than their predecessors, consider themselves forever young, want to have fun, demand immediate gratification, want choice, and will pay for luxury, expertise, and convenience.  Investing in businesses that particularly cater for the ageing population is big business in the Staes, where age-related investment funds are outperforming indexes (Reuters).

Baby Boomers planning to travel extensively and/or live abroad

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Boomers taking photos

There is an increasing trend for retiring American Baby Boomers to travel and even live outside the USA.   “An innate curiosity and a genuine hunger for discovery push them to constantly enlarge their horizons towards places they hadn’t necessarily considered before, for holidays. Lands like Panama or Ecuador are becoming more and more a reality for those people whom not only feel inspired to travel, but have the desire to establish a new kind of existence elsewhere, far from what reminds them of the daily stress they’ve encountered during life,” writes Ombretta Di Dio in The Huffington Post.  Baby Boomers often return to previously-visited places in order to explore it in greater depth and be part of the “cultural scenario”.  They may travel alone or with grandchildren, and are attracted too by cheaper medical services abroad.  “It’s not a case that the tourism industry has created special targeted advertisements in order to attract Baby Boomers. That really shouldn’t come as a surprise: The Pew Research Center calculates Baby Boomers to be more than a quarter of the American population” continues Di Dio.  In the USA, roughly 10,000 Boomers will turn 65 today, and about 10,000 more will do so every day until 2030.