Britain’s older generations have overtaken the country’s youngsters as the great travellers of the modern age and now account for 58% of travel and tourism expenditure, up from 49% just five years ago.
Whilst Europe remains a firm favourite amongst the over 50s, they are now also seeking new destinations and experiences and are taking longer holidays to explore the likes of the Borneo Rainforest, treks through the Andes or the famous Silk Route through Uzbekistan.
A report compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research on behalf of Saga, highlighted the holiday habits of those over 50 and how that may change in the future.
It notes how over the past decade the growth in holiday spending has been particularly strong among those aged 65 -74 and 28% of overseas holidays taken by those over 55 last longer than two weeks – the health benefits of which help people feel more invigorated for more than a month after they return.
Spending by over-50s households on travel and tourism was worth £38.9 billion in 2015 and it has increased by 23% over the past five years while the equivalent spending by younger households has fallen by 5%.
Over 50s are also seeking more adventurous and inspiring holidays and are prepared to travel distances for the experience. Tourists aged over 55 accounted for 135 million bed nights overseas, spending £8.5 billion; Europe remains a favourite but increasingly destinations in Africa, America and the Caribbean and India are proving popular.
Older travellers are also the mainstay of the cruise market where they account for the overwhelming majority of passengers, spending an estimated £2.1 billion. This is expected to increase by 37% to £2.8 billion by 2020.
Andrew Strong, chief executive officer of Saga Holidays, said: “The over 50s want to spend their retirement exploring the world and discovering new and exciting destinations - they truly are enjoying life through travel. Despite industry concerns that the recent Brexit vote might see people change their travel plans, older travellers have no intention of letting it clip their wings. In a recent poll of almost 10,000 over 50s it was clear that less than 1% would reconsider their plans and if our customers are anything to go by, they are in fact now looking further afield.”