Older travellers show how it’s done

They’re often dismissed as the caravan brigade or people who just go on cruises, but new research suggests senior travellers deserve a lot more respect. Findings released to The Sun Herald ahead of their official launch later at a workshop later this month show an estimated 4.4 million seniors in Australia are travelling – and they’re spending up big.

The study was carried out by experienced travel researchers at MyTravelResearch.com with ‘senior’ defined as over 55 – although it soon became clear that most people in this age group do not consider themselves senior.

Researchers Carolyn Childs and Bronwyn White say the reality of the senior traveller is far removed from the general perception of the market. “Often they are seen as the blue-rinse brigade but we prefer to think of them as the blue-sky brigade,” says Childs.

“Of our sample of (more than 500) senior travellers, more than half had travelled overseas in the past 12 months and one in five had made more than five domestic trips in that period. These people are out there. Old favourites such as Europe and North America are high on the list of dream destinations but so are more interesting and unusual destinations. Six per cent were planning to travel to South America.”

Childs says today’s seniors are the richest generation that Australia has ever seen, holding a disproportionate amount of Australia’s wealth thanks to the housing boom, and are optimistic and adventurous travellers.

“This group is economically important but much misunderstood,” she says. “This is the first generation of Lonely Planet users – think… (click here to keep reading this article by Jane E. Fraser)

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