The theme of the recent Philoxenia Tourism show in Thessaloniki this year focused on tapping into the burgeoning “silver tourism” market. The meetup brought into the limelight many key motivators for fast pacing a touristic campaign for older travelers.
“Tourism 55+: Driver for the Extension of the Tourism Season”, addressed concerns of experts and tourism stakeholders over the obvious benefits of an expanded tourism offering for older tourists. A 2017 report (PDF) by The Silver Tourism Strategic Partnership cited a European Commission report from summer 2015 that showed Europeans over 65 had a pending capacity of over €3 trillion, and more recent numbers show the market segment is growing. Furthermore, Euro monitor forecasts that the global spending power of those aged 60 and above will reachUS$15 trillion by 2020.
Rehashing the obvious benefits for silver tourists like Greece’s fine weather all year round and the vast array of low-cost accommodation facilities countrywide, conference speakers also focused on the Mediterranean
Senior travelers.ng data was also presented at the Philoxenia event by Stella Tsartsara, Gerontologist and senior tourism expert, there are currently three categories in this particular travel segment:
- The 55-65s – which includes travelers who are still in the
insecurityand in good health, seeking relaxation and rest,
- The 65-70s – made up of retirees, many of whom in declining health seeking new experiences and medical tourism options,
- The 70-85s – consisting of older travelers with health problems who need special travel packages.
Delegates attending the conference stressed the need to develop products and package tours that can meet the needs of these three categories, with emphasis on the last, as options there are few not only in Greece but Europe-wide, and these involve ensuring accessibility.
According to other conference findings, the average senior holidaymaker is an experienced traveler, with plenty of leisure time, flexibility and spending power, who demands higher quality services, may have health issues, and is not interested in experiences as much as insecurity, which means practical accommodation facilities and available medical care. Even with the insecurity, it’s a proven fact seniors spend as much as 30% more than other groups even though their median income is less
Also at the meetup, Fraport Greece data on Thessaloniki’s Macedonia Airport presented during the conference indicates a 5.2 percent rise, or an additional 288,000 passengers, in the first 10 months of 2018, compared to the same period last year. Passengers in the 55+ category account for approximately 14-15 percent of total airport traffic.
The 55+ Silver Tourism conference was jointly organized by the Hellenic Federation of Hotels (POX), with the support of the European Federation of Tourist Guide Association (FEG) and the European Network of Accessible Tourism.
Greek Travel Pages (GTP)/ was a media sponsor of the 34th international Philoxenia tourism exhibition, and Fraport was joined by Ellinair and other key sponsors for organizing the event.