Older people are travelling abroad more than ever before. For example, it is estimated that people aged 60 and over now make up a quarter of all foreign visitors to European countries.
And a new study by Avanti, a company which specialises in travel insurance for over-50s, has revealed the number of senior citizens from the UK going on trips abroad every year has risen by more than a third (35%) in 20 years, now standing at 1.3 million.
Avanti asked senior travellers about their holidaymaking habits in order to build a picture of the trends influencing the rise. Their findings suggest that the growth of independent travel, especially through online flight and accommodation booking sites, may have played a role.
Back in 1998, the number of over-65s travelling abroad independently or using package holiday providers was split more or less evenly. Now, the split is 60-40 in favour of independent travel, with numbers doubling in the past 20 years.
The growth in independent travel amongst older people may also have influenced them in spreading their wings and exploring new destinations further afield. The Avanti survey showed that traditional stalwarts like France, Spain and Italy still dominate senior tourism in Europe – more of the continent’s over-65s visit those three countries than everywhere else in the world combined.
But equally, certain destinations are enjoying hyper speed growth in the senior tourist market. Romania, for example, has seen the numbers of elderly tourists it welcomes rocket by 2120% since 1998, with neighbouring Bulgaria not far behind with a 1398% increase.
There are, of course, broader underlying factors which could explain the continued growth of tourism amongst over-65s. People are living longer, the proportion of the population reaching retirement age is larger than ever and, crucially, today’s pensioners are perhaps more financially secure than at any other time in history. When your time is your own having left the world of work behind and you have disposable income to spend, why wouldn’t you spend it on exploring the world?
Click here for additional information from Avanti’s report.