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Best agers: force behind the future expansion of the tourism industry

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The German advertising industry has identified its major target group as consumers between the ages of 14 and 49 who wield significant purchasing power.

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The German advertising industry has identified its major target group as consumers between the ages of 14 and 49 who wield significant purchasing power. However, in a few years time, the powerful travel industry will no longer conform to this pattern. According to findings by the ADAC Reisemonitor (Travel Monitor), by 2020 every second holidaymaker will have passed the age of 50. Dr. Martin Buck, director of the Competence Center Travel and Logistics at Messe Berlin said, “At the present time, the travel industry is paying insufficient attention to demographic developments.”

The findings by the ADAC Reisemonitor 2009 are unequivocal: 42 of the 65-plus age group go on holiday. “Socio-demographic change in Germany presents a major challenge, but one offering enormous opportunities,” according to Dr. Martin Buck. For the director of the world’s leading travel trade show,these so-called best agers are the “secret force for growth, and the tourism industry is placing great expectations in them. “With increasing numbers of older vacationers, this target group is acquiring growing importance for the travel sector. That is why knowledge about the needs, demands, and requirements of these best agers regarding their travel plans are so important for the travel industry.”

Whether it is local destinations or long-haul travel, as people grow older, the background conditions are bound to change. This has been proved by the analyses carried out by the ADAC Reisemonitor, which has been presented at the ITB Berlin since 2008. “Holidaymakers in the best age” are keen to see and experience something new. Tours, as well as cultural and study trips and city tours are very popular. Excursions are another major form of holiday activity. These travelers want to expand their horizons, acquaint themselves with foreign cultures, and increase their knowledge while on holiday. According to the research that has been carried out by the ADAC, best agers attach particular importance to attractive landscapes, art and culture. Exclusive accommodation is equally vital, and a disproportionately large number of them prefer hotels. The older generation like to travel in their own cars or by air and are willing to spend substantial amounts on their holidays.”

On average, best agers spend over 1,800 euros per person on a trip. As people grow older, the traditional beach holiday ceases to be so attractive. Instead health and wellness vacations tend to become more popular, as well as destinations in Germany and the Alpine regions. And best agers stay longer: more than 50 percent book for at least two weeks and for three weeks in the case of almost 20 percent of them. In other respects, the over-65 generation relies on brochures (23.1 percent) and on the Internet (25.8 percent) as the basis for its holiday decisions. However, with 35.1 percent, tour operators’ catalogues lead the field when travel plans are being made.

Dr. Martin Buck stated: “One does not have to have a lot of imagination to realize that the over-50 target group are the ones that will help the travel industry to achieve further growth. This is a challenge that the industry will have to face.”

About ITB Berlin and the ITB Berlin Convention

ITB Berlin 2010 will take place from Wednesday to Sunday, March 10-14. ITB Berlin will be open to trade visitors only from Wednesday to Friday. Parallel with the trade show, the ITB Berlin Convention will be held from Wednesday to Saturday, March 10-13, 2010. This is the world’s largest specialist convention for the industry. Full details of the program can be found at www.itb.kongress.com. ITB Berlin is the world’s leading travel trade show. In 2009 a total of 11,098 companies from 187 countries exhibited their products and services to the 178,971 visitors who included 110,857 trade visitors.

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About the author


Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.