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Continuing and Emerging Trends of Senior Tourism: A Review of the Literature

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Abstract

The United Nations (2015) has recognised that the numbers of older people are growing rapidly, and has estimated that over two billion people will be aged 60 years and over by the year 2050, which will account for 22% (or one out of five) of the world’s population, compared to 10% in 2000. As a result of this population explosion it is anticipated that senior tourism will become an evolving and changing market segment. However, very little attention has been given in the literature to the impact of travel behaviour on the well-being of senior tourists and has received insufficient attention in the ageing research agenda. This has resulted in many travel businesses operating with a lack of understanding of the characteristics and concerns of senior travellers, and the different ways that they consume tourism. This article provides an analysis of the literature on the socio-demographics of seniors and their increased desire to participate in new and different tourism experiences; discusses different trends in their leisure behaviour, and draws implications for tourism providers. The literature presented in this review was identified through multiple sources including the use of a range of tourism databases and tracking citations from the research literature. This review has a twofold aim: to provide a deeper understanding of the senior market segment in regard to their expectations, needs and wants when travelling; and an examination of the benefits obtained from leisure travelling which has been linked to concepts such as active ageing and wellbeing. Findings generated by this approach will help create innovative ways for tourism providers to address some of the future trends identified in the research literature.

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Correspondence to Ian Patterson.

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Ian Patterson is retired, formerly Tourism Discipline.

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Patterson, I., Balderas, A. Continuing and Emerging Trends of Senior Tourism: A Review of the Literature. Population Ageing 13, 385–399 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12062-018-9228-4

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