How You Affect the Travel Industry

We’ve long known that travel doesn’t become any less important as you get older.  In fact, it often becomes a priority.  Older consumers often have more disposable income and time, which lends itself to the pursuit of adventure. With increased good health and inspired by a plethora of options, this consumer group is going further afield and participating in adventures their parents didn’t even dream of.

Often, travel becomes a family affair as grandparents take the opportunity to host family gatherings in exotic or fun locations, like a cruise or at Disneyland. The travel industry is just starting to feel the magnitude of this interest. More and more travel packages are being created, tailored to the needs and interests of these world wanderers.

It doesn’t take a lot of Internet research to recognize that one of the key consumer groups of the future is the 55+ traveler.  Here’s just some of the statistics to consider.

  • More than 81 million older adults are planning to travel in the next year
  • Collectively they plan to spend a total of $126 billion on their next trip alone
  • When it comes to airlines, hotels, motels and cruise lines, boomers and matures are ready to switch because of better pricing or better service
  • Nearly 11 million people aged 55+ plan on travelling more regularly over the next five to ten years
  • Travel is at the top of their agendas with 54% wanting to travel more regularly and to long-haul destinations and a further 22% wanting to go on a once in a lifetime holiday in the next decade
  • Travel takes priority over spending more time with friends and family (48%) getting fit (37%) and finding a healthier way of life (31%)
  • This huge demographic is eager to try new experiences and has plenty of money to spend
  • Estimated that boomers spend 40% more time vacationing and 74% more money on a traditional vacation than the 18-34 year old set.
  • According to Canada’s tourism Industry: Industrial Outlook (Spring 2008) – adults aged 55 to 75 are considered to be the number one largest consumer group and are in their prime traveling time.
  • Boomers are at the core of several travel trends, including ecotourism, adventure travel, medical tourism, multigenerational travel, passion/hobby vacations (combining a vacation with a passion such as biking/language learning, food, wine, etc.) and spiritual travel. Opportunities abound for smaller travel marketers specializing in niche travel, as well as bigger brands that offer niche travel opportunities.
  • The 50+ market is responsible for over 40% of all online expenditures – 26% more than any other age category.
  • The number of Boomers making travel plans online has grown by over 30% in the last 5 years
  • The older Boomer (60+) travel market has grown by over 20% in the same period.
  • When 50+ travelers take vacations they are spending as much as 23% more on domestic vacations and 22% more on foreign vacations than their younger counterparts.
  • In terms of luxury travel, 50+ are 45% more likely than younger travelers to spend $5,000+ per year on domestic travel and 75% more likely to spend $8,000 per year on foreign vacations.
  • 50+ travelers are responsible for 48% of all vacation expenditures, up from 42% five years ago.
  • Boomers and older travelers account for 63% of all cruise travel

80% of Boomer travelers go online to plan travel, spending between 30 and 36 hours a year researching travel. On average they visit 4 sites to research and 3 sites to book travel.


Barbara Risto is the publisher of INSPIRED Senior Living, a magazine geared for the 55+ demographic; the Canadian best-selling author of “To Move Or Not to Move?” a helpful guide for seniors considering their residential options; the producer of two annual 55+ Lifestyle Shows; and a champion of the 55+ lifestyle, which she is now embracing.

For more information, check out “Who Is Barbara Risto

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