Tourism for adults 55+

ESCAPE logo draft

Senior citizens (55+) often have both purchasing power and leisure time, and represents significant economic market potential, whose demand and criteria for choice must be further investigated. In this context, the project ESCAPE launched a European-wide survey to identify the needs and expectations of older travellers.

Carried out during the autumn 2014, the survey gathered more than 900 replies across Europe; its analysis offers country-based insights alongside with wide-spread trends related to choices when travelling, and provides an overview of older people’s approaches to seasonality and preferences for themes and leisure activities. The survey also addressed intergenerational comparisons, accessibility and seamlessness issues, as well as underlined older people’s concerns when encountering barriers to their freedom of movement.

The survey underlined how heterogeneous the senior group is, with needs and expectations very diversified, in relation to age, health conditions, social and familiar constraints (e.g. care duties) and economic status. Nevertheless the survey highlighted some common patterns and preferences, especially concerning the age range 55-75, for example:

  • They prefer to travel with a partner, with relatives or family members, as well as in groups with people they know.
  • In average, they have with a budget up to 100€ a day, and prefer to take 4-7 nights breaks, and also to extend the length up to 13 nights.
  • they prefer to travel in summer and spring
  • they tend to be quite autonomous in planning and managing their travels, opting less frequently for all-inclusive packages, preferring to organise their holidays individually.
  • Their preferred touristic themes are nature and culture

Survey’s replies also give some country-based insights for Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Italy and Portugal.

Click here to read the report of the survey

Visit this page to know more about the ESCAPE project and AGE involvement

Created: 09 February 2015 on AGE Platform Europe

TOURage logo

The Project “TOURAGE – Developing Senior Tourism in Remote Regions” organizes its Final Conference ”Developing Senior Tourism in Remote Regions – Experiences and the Way Forward” on 18th September 2014 in the Committee of the Regions, Brussels (Belgium). On that occasion, the results of the project will be presented and discussed, accompanied by the keynote speeches from the EU level institutions and organisations.

The three-year project seeks to enhance regional economy by the means of senior tourism development through identifying the responsible personnel of regional authorities, decision-makers and politicians in the field; its challenges and benefits, its future and trends and above relevant good practices. It brings together partners from 11 EU regions and 9 Member States.

The event is targeted for the regional, national and EU level policy-makers, European networks and organisations on tourism, ageing and demographic change. The aim is to disseminate the project results and discuss on senior tourism development potentials and to provide a platform for networking on European level. Nearly hundred participants are expected to participate in the event which is hosted by Alternate Member of the Latvian Delegation to the Committee of the Regions Mr. Edvīns Bartkevičs and keynote speech will be held by Mr. Pedro Ortún, Director for Service Industries, Directorate General for Enterprise and Industry, European Commission.

Created: 04 August 2014

Read the report of AFE-INNOVNET webinar on Senior tourism

03/03/2015 – 14:03

Senior tourism is predicted to be a major force in the 21st century. Older citizens have both purchasing power and leisure time; therefore they represent a significant economic market potential which needs strategic responses. By reinforcing senior tourism, older citizens can contribute to face the challenge of seasonality, stimulating economic growth and jobs in Europe, recalled speakers during AFE-INNOVNET webinar on Senior tourism.

Three speakers were invited to present the initiatives at the EU level but also at the local-regional level in the field of age-friendly tourism. The speakers illustrated the new trends in regards with tourism, going from sustainable to responsible tourism. All these new concept are now involved and taken into account to encourage older tourists to enjoy a break where the environment is adapted to their needs and expectations.

Oscar Almendros Bonis, from DG GROW (Tourism Unit Policy), presented the senior initiative. Starting in 2012 due to the political support of the European Commission (EC) and the tourism development potential in the extension of seasonality and generation of growth and employment opportunities, fostering transnational tourism flows for elderly travels in the low season has been one of the lines of action of the EU Tourism Policy. Mr Almendros briefly explained the background of this initiative, reshaping an EC initiative called “Calypso: Tourism for All” running from 2009 to 2012– aiming at promoting transnational exchanges between different countries or regions during low-tourist seasons targeting the following groups: underprivileged young adults (aged 18-30); families on low incomes; people with disabilities; and seniors (65+). Indeed, these groups can help extend the tourism season and help create longer-lasting employment in the tourism sector, as they are less constrained by vocational seasons. Mr. Almendros briefly presented two good practices co-funded by the EC in previous Calls:

–          eCalypso platform (2012 Call under the calypso initiative): The platform was created in 2013 and promotes social tourism in Europe through the development of a demand-supply web based platform;

–          Senior Rail Travel (2013 Call under the senior tourism initiative): The project fosters senior travel throughout Europe by train, offering innovative dynamic tourism packages: a “Premium Inter-rail Pass” will encompass all elements of the travel chain (from mobility by train all over Europe to information, accommodation and cultural packages);

The 2014 Call was published in October 2014 and closed on 15 January 2015. They focused on the competitiveness of SMEs and jobs growth; transnational cooperation and the same target group than the previous calls. At this point, the applications are still being analysed.
The next calls will be published in May 2015 (tbc) and will most probably follow similar objectives as the 2014 Calls.

Several actions (e.g. survey, questionnaire, workshops) were taken in the previous years to better understand the seniors needs and expectations and thus to better support the action plan “Low season tourism: towards age-friendly tourism”, which objectives would be to gather knowledge to boost the demand in the low and medium seasons and create a transnational business model with a view to improve the offer, promote Europe as a single destination and facilitate a good governance and monitoring of all initiatives foster political support at all different territorial levels.

Further information is available here.

Jovita García Collado, Lawyer and Expert at Environmental Management and Sustainable Development at Ambienta 45 presented the “ActivSeniors” project, which promotes sustainable and responsible tourism in natural areas with specific care and attention for people over 55 years and that have a positive impact on the health and wellbeing of travelers. In order to implement this type of tourism, Ambienta 45 set up the “ActivSeniors method”, with the collaboration of public-private organisations from the tourism and environmental sector and local and regional authorities. The project aims at preparing tourist destinations for the new reality of an older population and help them create a complete tourist product adapted to the new needs and expectations of the ageing and mature baby boomers. ActivSeniors use a particular method to create their tourist products on the particularity of each territory (e.g. biodiversity, climate, culture, social resources), where nature and health is at the centre of the thinking process, thus making it a unique product.

Further information is available here.

Maddalena Illario, Coordinator of the CosMic Network and Campania Reference Site, presented an overview of several municipalities of Campania Cosmic Net and their age-friendly initiatives in the field of tourism (Ottaviano, Capaccio-Paestum, Pollica and Minori). Being aware of the challenges posed by the ageing population, these municipalities have seen their naturel environment and resources and local heritage as an opportunity to develop their tourism sector for everyone, and especially older tourist. The abovementioned municipalities have adopted resolutions to deploy dedicated services to fulfil seniors’ needs and have integrated them in the tourist offer. In order to develop and implement successful age-friendly tourism policies, a collaboration between the municipalities and the private sector was needed. By investing in these policies, they believe they can more effectively and sustainably address certain challenges, such as seasonality and at the same time, driving the development of joint policies among local stakeholders.

Further information is available here.


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