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ITTFA Comment on… Senior Surprise

The professional work-force in developed countries is increasingly young, especially in the travel and tourism industry where most managers are in their Twenties, Thirties and Forties. With many people in their Fifties retired or semi-retired, it’s tempting to view the older generation as a race apart.

But today’s over-Fifties are very different to the over-Fifties of the past – increasingly healthy, affluent and long-lived, used to travel and with a “younger” attitude than previous generations. People turning 60 today grew up with The Beatles, not Frank Sinatra.

But is the travel industry keeping up with their changing demands, and can exhibitions play a role in exploiting this growing market? It’s a difficult question, and most over-Fifties do not want to be categorised.

Research by Saga, the British company providing holidays, financial services and a wide range of other products for the over-Fifties, turns up plenty of surprises.

It shows that this age group is increasingly ready to try more adventurous and adrenaline-fuelled activities, with six out of ten keen to try a new activity and one in 10 already taking part in an extreme or highly energetic sport such as snow-boarding or mountain climbing. The top 10 “must see” destinations are all long-haul, led by the Galapagos Islands.

They currently have 30% higher disposable income than those under 50 and are not afraid to spend it. Nearly a third (31%) of the over-Fifties questioned said they would rather spend

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