11 AUGUST 2014

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Article from BTNews 11 AUGUST 2014

COMMENT: The ‘getting old’ will travel

Since the emergence of the package holidays in the 1960s and the low-cost airlines two decades later, it has been thought that the ‘young things’ made up the majority of travellers, at least those doing so for recreational purposes.

New, independent research says this is not so, and with the peak of the travel season now upon us it seemed a good idea to COMMENT on the situation.

A report has been published by Saga (recently listed on the London Stock Exchange – and with a clear interest in the results) which shows that the over 50s now account for the majority of the UK’s expenditure on travel and tourism.  In 2002 it was 46%.  The figure now is 54%.

Over the 10 years from 2002 to 2012 spending by the over 50s has grown faster than any other age group.  When compared with people aged 30-49, spending on travel and tourism by those aged 50-64 grew three times faster, and four times faster for those aged 65-74.

We have to agree with what Andrew Strong, Chief Executive of Saga Travel, has to say:

“Today’s over-50s, who are healthier and wealthier than previous generations, have shown a passion for travel which has led to exceptional growth across overseas holidays, cruises as well as UK staycations.  No wonder the over-50s now account for the majority of travel and tourism expenditure in the UK.  The challenge will be how travel companies recognise and respond to the diverse nature of this demanding and discerning demographic.”

The key findings of the independent research from CEBR, commissioned by Saga, were:

• The over-50s account for a growing share of UK travel and tourism spend – our analysis shows that over-50s households spent £25bn on travel and tourism in 2012 (the latest year for which we have detailed family spending data).  This is up from £14bn in 2002.  As a share of total expenditure on travel and tourism, spending by over-50s households rose from 46.3% in 2002 to 54.1% in 2012, meaning the over-50s now account for the majority of travel and tourism expenditure in the UK.

• Between 2002 and 2012, travel and tourism expenditure by 50-64 year old households increased by 68%, while among those aged 65-74 it increased by 95.3% and for those aged 75 or over it increased by 81.2%.  These are all significantly higher than the growth recorded for all UK households (50.9%).

• After allowing for inflation, the changes in real terms show a +28% (£0.8bn) increase in spending by under 30s; -4.4% (£0.8bn) decrease in spending by 30-49 year olds; +30.3% (£3.6bn) increase in spending by 50-64 year olds; +51.5% (£2.3bn) increase in spending by 65-74 year olds; and +40.6% (£0.7bn) increase in spending by over 75s.  This compares with an average real-terms increase of +17% across all households.

• Households aged 75 and over spend a far greater share of their travel and tourism expenditure on domestic holidays than other age groups – two-fifths (40%) of expenditure on package holidays and accommodation for the over-75 is for UK-based holidays.  This compares with less than 25% in younger age groups.

If you are over 50 and reading this COMMENT it all looks good.  If you are over 75 it looks very good.  And if you are about to go on holiday, whatever the age, enjoy.

Copies of the report are available from  www.saga.co.uk/newsroom/press-releases/2014/july/over-50s-now-account-for-majority-of-spending-on-travel-and-tourism.aspx

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