Senior tourism to increase the tourist flows in medium and low season: Member States believe it is possible

According to EUROSTAT‘s demographic prevision, more than 128 million people in the European Union were aged between 55 and 80 in 2012, representing about 25% of the entire population. The current demographic trends in the European Union show that the percentage of seniors will probably grow up to 30% by 2060.

This represents an important segment which has not been considered yet, usually composed by healthy and wealthy customers (especially in the segment aged 55-70).

Even though the contribution of this segment to the tourism activity in the recent years has considerably risen and it has contributed in mitigating the crisis in the tourism sector, its participation level in the tourism development is quite low, especially for the segment aged 65+. The cause to this is partially the insufficient adaptation of the offer to the needs and expectations of the senior costumers.

Thanks to the previous Calypso programme and to the current COSME 2014-2020, many Member States have just realised a systematic reflection in order to identify potential obstacles and avoid them. The present situation reduces the job opportunities in the European tourism sector, especially in small and medium enterprises.

In some Member States, such as Spain and Portugal, senior tourism has demonstrated to have great potentialities to improve the tourism season and to support the following creation of employment. The COS-TOUR-2015-3-04, regarding the EU Program COSME 2014-2020, affirms that “the EU wide senior tourism market however remains limited and fragmented, senior tourists’ mobility is often problematic and very often the supply is scarcely designed when it comes to meeting the needs of the elderly. Consequently, it is necessary – for both the public authorities and the private sector – to design medium and long-term strategies to anticipate and react upon in the most competitive way.”