Senior citizens key to travel industry growth

With their growing numbers and healthy levels of disposable income, travellers of retirement age have never been more important to the on-going success of the travel industry.

The over 65 age group, while not immune to the ravages of recession, is still producing enough individuals with sufficient levels of affluence and time on their hands to be specifically targeted by travel companies. Growing in numbers as life expectancy improves, unrestricted by school term times, and still healthy enough to target ever more adventurous destinations, older travellers are no longer considered to be nothing more than fodder for Spanish beaches or sedate Mediterranean cruises.

Holiday companies that specialise in providing travel packages for senior citizens are now finding a healthy market for tours to such far-flung destinations as Sri Lanka, Borneo, Oman, Nepal and the Galapagos Islands. Excursions for those of retirement age now include such diverse options as trekking in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco, balloon flights over Kenya’s Masai Mara game reserves, Los Angeles city tours, whale watching in the Azores and Geisha shows in Japan.

Of course, with added adventure comes added risk, and risk will always increase the possibility of an accident or illness, whatever the traveller’s age. Advice from the UK’s Foreign Office that travellers should be adequately insured for their proposed trip is doubly important if that trip involves travel to countries where the infrastructure is not to European standards and specialist assistance is likely to be required in the event of an emergency. And older passengers, however fit and healthy, can encounter additional challenges in such a circumstance that younger travellers would not.

Fortunately, the dichotomy of ever-older travellers taking ever more risky vacations has meant that travel insurance companies have had to up their game to serve the growing market. Now, specialist companies, such as Staysure, take a far more enlightened view of ‘grey explorers’ than they would have done a few years ago, and travel policies are available that provide peace of mind and security to travellers in their 60’s, 70’s, and even 80’s.

The growing band of retirees no longer see their later years as a time to wind down, but as a time of opportunity to fulfil those long-held ambitions, and the travel industry is the biggest beneficiary of that revolution.

After all, 70 is the new 50.