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Ageing: A Change in Age Perception and its Impact in the Latin-American Travel Market

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Marília Borges Bio

According to Euromonitor International, approximately 26% of the global population will be above 50 years old in 2017 and this age group becomes even more relevant when we refer to the Latin American travel industry.

The group of older tourists has been growing in Latin America above the global average. According to Euromonitor International's latest travel research, the tourists above 50s accounted for 25% of the global tourist population in 2010, a proportion that should remain steady until 2020. In Latin America, however, we expect the representativeness of this group to increase from 25% to 28% by 2020 (in Peru, for example, travelers above 50 already represent 34%). This represents an increase of 26 million trips done by seniors – if we consider one trip per person – or two times the entire population of Buenos Aires. This growth rate is in fact the most aggressive among all age groups.

This group of mature tourists is bringing important challenges and opportunities for the travel industry such as chosen destinations. While France and Italy remain among the preferred international destinations, we have seen an increase of seniors opting for exotic countries, such as Croatia and Montenegro. Cruises and domestic trips are also new frequent choices. The most important characteristic for this group, however, lays on the fact that they have time availability to make more trips along the year, especially during low season when prices are more accessible and the flux of tourists is smaller.

Perceiving this trend as an opportunity to boost sales, government and entities are launching initiatives targeting specifically the older population. In Chile and Argentina, for example, local governments are offering promotional travel seasons and subsidizing packages for senior citizens who wish to travel. Also targeting this group, the Brazilian government launched in 2016 a guide with suggestions to better attend the demands of the senior population including recommendation of non-slips floors and informative signs in bright colors.

The aging of the population, as well as the re-signification of what it means to be ‘old’, will become a driving force to consolidate the elderly population as a major consumer segment for the tourism industry in Latin America. The term 'midorexia' relates the young behavior of this older group who seeks new experiences that they could not have before in later phase of life. The valorization of well-being becomes a priority of this group and the tourism industry should not miss on this opportunity.

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