Baby boomers and experiential travel to drive sales
Tour operators share their thoughts on opportunities and challenges for the coming year with Travel Market Report. One of the major trends is the ever-increasing importance of the “baby boomer” market. “They are beginning to retire and there are enough that have the kind of income and free time to travel,” says Phil Otterson, president, Abercrombie & Kent USA. “Because of the broad age span of the boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, their interests vary from multigenerational travel to ultra-luxury trips, whether in groups or FITs.”
Travel agents will benefit increasingly from the experiential travel trend. “Travellers have a desire for authentic experiences,” Scott Nisbet of Globus explains. “They face a lot of complexity in terms of finding these experiences, putting them together and finding value. Tour operators and agents are good at taking the complexity out of the equation, finding the value and pointing travellers in the right direction.”
“Clients want immersion into the culture,” Dan Sullivan, president and CEO of Collette Vacations, agrees. “They want to meet the locals even if they don’t speak English. They want to see the sights, but they also want to see the real destination. We’ve added flexibility in our itineraries that gives them this choice.”
However, bad press also affects destinations as never before. Tour operators agree that “Egypt is off-line”, “Israel too is a risk” and, at least in the US, “Greece is an issue”.
[pictured: Cultural immersion in Sweden: Sami reindeer husbandry; photo by Lola Akinmade Åkerström/imagebank.sweden.se]