27 September 2016, 01:00

Intrepid over 50s now account for 58% of travel and tourism spend

• Brexit has little impact on travel plans as less than one percent would reconsider their plans
• Saga celebrates 65 years of travel!

Britain’s older generations have overtaken the country’s youngsters as the great travellers of the modern age and now account for 58% of travel and tourism expenditure, up from 49% just five years ago.

Whilst Europe remains a firm favourite amongst the over 50s, they are now also seeking new destinations and experiences and take longer holidays to explore the likes of the Borneo Rainforest, Trek through the Andes or follow the famous Silk Route through Uzbekistan.

A revealing report compiled by the Centre for Economics and Business Research on behalf of the holidays to financial services company Saga, shines a light on the holiday activities of those over 50 and how that may change in the future. It highlights how over the past decade the growth in holiday spending has been particularly strong among those aged 65 -74 and 28% of overseas holidays taken by those over 55 last longer than two weeks – the health benefits of which help people feel more invigorated for more than a month after they return.

Spending by over-50s households on travel and tourism was worth £38.9 billion in 2015 and it has increased by almost a quarter (23%) over the past five years while the equivalent spending by younger households has fallen by 5%.

They are also seeking more adventurous and inspiring holidays and are prepared to travel distances for the experience. Tourists aged over 55 accounted for 135 million bed nights overseas, spending £8.5 billion; Europe remains a favourite but increasingly destinations in Africa, America and the Caribbean and India are proving popular.

Older travellers are also the mainstay of the cruise market where they account for the overwhelming majority of passengers, spending an estimated £2.1 billion. This is expected to increase by 37% to £2.8 billion by 2020.

Andrew Strong, Chief Executive Officer of Saga Holidays, said: “The over 50s want to spend their retirement exploring the world and discovering new and exciting destinations - they truly are enjoying life through travel.

“Despite industry concerns that the recent Brexit vote might see people change their travel plans, older travellers have no intention of letting it clip their wings. In a recent poll of almost 10,000 over 50s it was clear that less than one percent would reconsider their plans and if our customers are anything to go by, they are in fact now looking further afield!

"Over 50s account for well over half of UK spending on travel and tourism and that is set to grow as people live longer and healthier lives.

“Our report identifies that among the working over 50s more than a third (36%) plan to increase their spending on long haul holidays after retirement and 31% expect to spend more on cruises. At Saga we have developed new holidays and tours that appeal to those that want to unwind as well as exciting holidays that let people explore more exotic destinations such as Uzbekistan and epic adventures across the Andes. We are also investing significantly in our cruise fleet, signing a contract to deliver our first new-build cruise ship during 2019.

“Older people are today healthier and wealthier than ever before and look forward to experiencing the world in style, which is great news for those in the UK travel industry who can help them achieve their dreams.”


The full report can be found here.



Press Office