While timeshare buyers are getting younger on the whole, a new survey says older travellers account for over half of all holiday spending and the trend is on the rise.
Travelsphere found that holidaymakers aged 45-54 tend to take more holidays abroad than any other age group, while 55-64 year-olds were the only age group to increase their long-haul travel between 2008 and 2010, during a period when the market actually shrank by 9%.
The "Frequent Flying and Globe Trekking Older Travellers Report", prepared in association with Mintel Research Consultancy, shows that holidaymakers in the 45-64 age group accounted for 40% of all long-haul trips in 2010.
The same is true to an extent in the timeshare world, with many owners banking their points or weeks for future us or towards an extended getaway to celebrate an anniversary or perhaps try a cruise for the first time.
In the Mintel survey, people over 65 were the most frequent fliers within the 45+ age bracket. Apparently 28% go abroad on average at least twice a year, compared to just 19% of all British holidaymakers.
And while younger holidaymakers keep in touch with their friends on Facebook while away, the report also found that the 55+ age group are decidedly tech savvy when it comes to making the holiday bookings. Two-thirds of more mature travellers book their entire holiday online compared to 57% of under-45’s.
Time is no doubt an influential factor, as retired couples have more time to research and plan a holiday, can escape during “low season”, and many have significantly more disposable income and are not restricted to school holiday dates as younger families are. Another trend on the rise is that of active or wellness holidays, with walking breaks in winter sun destinations such as Tenerife becoming more popular. A holiday combined with a “health MOT” at an overseas spa is also a new trend – a change to the traditional “fly-and-flop” beach holiday.
"What is clear from the research is that while current economic hardships have impacted harder on the holidaying habits of the under 45s, those over 45 still consider holidays essential," said Travelsphere parent Page & Moy Travel Group
"Two thirds of over 55s see holidays as necessary spend, compared to only half of 45-54 year olds and 45% of under 45s."
Ian Smith, group CEO, said: "Many of today’s older travellers have time, money and the internet at their fingertips to entice and enable. The UK’s older population is growing at the fastest rate, accounting for 17% of our population today, but is expected to rise to 23% by 2035, so older travellers will continue to dominate the tourism offering at home and abroad."
John Carter, former presenter of TV holiday programme Wish You Were Here and a Travelsphere customer, said: "It’s no surprise to me to discover older holidaymakers are taking over the world. We’ve got the time, interest and energy to search out destinations we’ve always dreamed of visiting."