The EU feels that the contribution of senior citizens to the European tourism industry is significant and should be reinforced to face the challenge of seasonality, stimulating economic growth and jobs in Europe. The European Commission acknowledges the importance of fostering transnational tourism activities by developing tourism off-season for seniors in Europe.
Within the priorities of the European tourism policy, the European Commission is support initiatives that could stimulate senior tourism in low and medium seazon, providing significant added value to national, regional and industry-driven actions, in order to foster the competitiveness of the tourism industry.
Senior citizens (55 years old and over) represent around 25% of the European population. This population group which includes individuals with both purchasing power and leisure time, represents significant economic market potential and can also match some already existing national and/or regional models with potential transferability at EU level.
The Calypso initiative has clearly highlighted in some projects (EST, SOWELL, URTS, HEALTOUR, OFF2013) how senior tourism can contribute to combat seasonality, strengthening the notion of European citizenship and promoting a regional development.
In this respect, the Commission launched in May 2012 a pilot phase for a “Senior Tourism Initiative”, to define the framework conditions to enhance senior citizens to travel in Europe.
A call for proposals was published in 2013 to support this initiative. The European Commission considers that there is a potential for developing specific tourism offers, focused on transnational travels, in particular by setting up strong partnerships between the public and private sector, including SMEs, with a view to offer competitive packages, aiming at increasing the competitiveness of the tourism industry.
Objectives and areas for action
This task force seeks to help AGE provide input on older people’s expectations and needs with regard to senior tourism in low seazon and what could be done at EU level to promote more demand from the senior population.
Responsible staff member: Anne-Sophie Parent, firstname.lastname@example.org