Adventure Travel for Seniors Takes Off
Adventure Travel for Seniors Takes Off
As a result of the global increase in life expectancy, international travel is predicted to double from one to two billion in the next 20 years. With senior citizens due to outnumber children in just 15 years time, the gray population is now one of the fastest growing segments in the international travel market.
"No longer content with sterile cruise packages, pensioners are now after more adventurous ways to see the world. So our company focuses on providing seniors with international adventure travel experiences that are fun, socially stimulating and personally enriching," says Billie Jordan, Director of the New Zealand based international adventure travel company for seniors, Discover Me Travel.
"Older people know experiences are far more important than material things and want unique adventures. For example, during our next trip to Thailand seniors will gain a Certificate as an Elephant Caretaker at a highly respected elephant refuge, visit remote hill tribes in the Golden Triangle, and do half a day's voluntary activities to feel a greater connection to the places they visit. These intrepid experiences will be complemented with luxury accommodation, lots of sightseeing, amazing food and relaxation time at beaches in the sun," says Jordan.
In the US 73% of seniors say engagement with nature is their most popular holiday activity.
"To cater for this new breed of adventure traveller, all our trips focus on cultural participation, rather than passive observation and include close encounters with nature, animals, and communities - without compromising on comfort. Seniors want to be close to nature - not just watch it through the window of a coach bus.
"We keep our tours limited to 11 travellers so everyone can receive individual attention and never have to step on a mundane coach bus where local life just passes you by. We try and use a great variety of transport to get from A to B from tuk tuks and long tail boats to planes and trains," says Jordan.
To increase the sense of adventure, every traveller on a Discover Me Travel trip has a special personal mystery challenge mission set for them.
"Senior travellers like surprises and doing something unique. The mystery challenge differs for each person but is always very enjoyable and designed to increase their sense of self worth. Some challenges may be to just accept being pampered at a spa for an afternoon, another may be to do a fun adrenalin pumping activity. It differs for each person," says Jordan.
The rise of social media is also having an impact on the travel industry.
"Senior citizens are far more engaged in social media than people think. Just like young people, travel amongst senior citizens is seen as a currency to communicate and define their social status. Therefore, throughout our trips we take photos and videos of our travellers and upload them to social media so their friends and family can receive instant updates on their trip, well being, and have a life lasting digital record of their adventures," says Jordan.
Although pensioners are healthier now than they've ever been, one third of them have a physical disability.
"To cater for their physical needs, all our accommodation is for four or five star and the activity level is low so that even someone with limited walking ability can fully participate in all experiences. Whether they're 20 or 110 years old - we make sure they have the time of their life," says Jordan.
A well defined budget is also an important consideration for the gray traveller.
"As they're on a fixed income, all-inclusive packages are far more popular amongst senior citizens than any other segment in the market - which is partly why cruise ship tours have been a popular choice for pensioners in the past. For this reason, our adventure trips are all-inclusive as well," says Jordan.
Billie Jordan leads the tours at Discover Me Travel but is perhaps better known as the Founder and Manager of the Hip Op-eration Crew; the oldest dance group in the world. Her recent Ted Talk, about how she believes the true potential of senior citizens is yet to be realised, has been commended internationally and earned her the nickname 'The Granny Whisperer'.
You can visit the Discover Me Travel website at: www.discovermetravel.org