Age-friendly tourism

By | Category: Travel news
Annemiek Jetten

Annemiek Jetten

Older people have a spending power in excess of €3 trillion according to an EU draft opinion by Annemiek Jetten, Mayor of Sluis in the Netherlands.

She had been tasked with looking at tourism for seniors. That term is used because there is no acceptable definition used throughout the EU on what age a senior is. Is it over 55, 60, 65, 68 or a different age? And, therein, is the problem of accepting whether the market is worth as much as she says.

Whatever the figure might be, the spending power is pretty substantial and, having few commitments to the workplace, that cash has to be spent somewhere. Travel is high on the list that those in retirement undertake but does the industry overall cater for this market.

Jetten suggests no and says the EU makes what she calls “senior tourism” central to Europe’s Digital Agenda and insists that more funding should be made available for older people. She also says that there should be a European database on senior tourism and a new body should be set up, a European Covenant of Mayors on Demographic Change.

attracting olderv tourists out of season

attracting olderv tourists out of season

What does this mean to us normal mortals who aren’t blessed with understanding EU speak?

I think it means that she recognises that “seniors” have a lot of money that they could spend on tourism and countries in the EU should make sure they get their slice of it by adapting their amenities to make sure that “seniors” can use them. In some ways it is condescending because it suggests that “seniors” should be treated differently from others. In truth, it admits that seniors might not be as mobile as 18 year olds and things like steps, steep paths and places without handrails may deter visits by “seniors.”

Whatever it means, the EU will discuss her report in February when they discuss low season tourism. Obviously that’s where they think “Seniors” can make an impact on the economies of destination since they aren’t hidebound by school terms or work commitments limiting holiday time.


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