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31 May, 2024
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Is Europe ready to accommodate older travelers?

Is the tourism industry ready for the booming older travelers’ market

Source: Schengen Visa Info

As the world’s population is growing older, the tourism industry will have to adjust, meaning that tourism should be more accessible and inclusive for this category of travelers.

More specifically, segments in the tourism sector should adapt and offer more pleasant experiences for this demographic that will soon become the leading group. Adapting, according to Kelly Torrens, the vice president for Kensington Tours, could include more breaks, slower walks, offering assistance for different activities and selecting less difficult terrains.

The Administration for Community Living’s research has revealed that nearly one-fifth of senior citizens reported they had difficulties with hearing, seeing, communication, memory, mobility or self-care, with the most problematic being mobility, which indicates that this group of people has enhanced issues to walk, representing 39 percent of the total number of respondents reporting such issues.

Moreover, many highly-ranked hotels in the best destinations throughout Europe don’t have elevators that can fit more than two persons. Hotels can adapt by investing in becoming more accessible and take the example of other countries that are familiar with this kind of tourism, such as Costa Rica, which, thanks to a high number of retired American arrivals, has adjusted to this group of tourists.

Cruise companies are considered to be ahead of other tourism companies as they have been targeting older travelers, offering cruise ship rooms, facilities and other indoor experiences that are accessible to older tourists.

“They’ve done a pretty good job for seniors and people who have disabilities. They would much more prefer to stay in a hotel and explore Venice rather than just being on a cruise and stopping for two hours in Venice, but because the cruise is more accessible, they choose the cruise,” Alvaro Silberstein, CEO of Wheel the World, an online travel agency, said for Skift.

The average age of cruise passengers is 47, while Cruise Lines International Association said the age rose to 48 between 2019 and 2021.

In general, the number of older people is increasing worldwide, as the United Nations data show that this is the world’s fast-growing age group, and for the first time in 2018, there were more old people than children under the age of five in the whole world. Moreover, older people are expected to outnumber youngsters between 15 and 24 years, while one in six people will be over 65 years.

According to Eurostat, the European Office for Statistics, the median age in Europe increased from 43.9 to 44.1 years in 2020. The same data revealed that capital cities had relatively young populations while the older population was more common in rural regions of each respective member state.

Cyprus  |  World  |  tourism

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