Europe Senior Tourism: Spain shows its commitment to seniors

Submitted by AFE INNOVNET on Fri, 02/06/2015 - 12:23.

Seniors represent an opportunity for tourism, and tourism is an opportunity for seniors. This is the idea behind the Spanish government's Europe Senior Tourism programme which fifth edition was launched in October 2014, and which has enabled almost 140,000 European seniors to travel to Spain in the mid- and low season since it started in 2009.

Europe Senior Tourism is a programme of holiday packages for 55+ travelling outside the high season. It was set up by Spain's National Department of Tourism and is run by “Sociedad Estatal para la Gestión de la Innovación y las Tecnologías Turísticas” (SEGITTUR). One of the success keys of the project is the collaboration with the destinations and private-sector operators and hotels.

The aim is to offer holiday packages for the 55+ and create products that are specially tailored to their needs to encourage them to travel outside the high season. They can enjoy uncrowned destinations, lower prices and a complete range of options including culture, gastronomy, nature and sport. Another feature that makes Spain an attractive destination is its climate. All these aspects can contribute to curbing the sector-wide seasonality suffered by tourist resorts, which has major repercussions on the job market.      

This group numbers 128 million people aged between 55 and 80 –a figure that is rising every year–. It is estimated that seven out of ten have never travelled beyond their national borders. Tourism represents an opportunity to satisfy the needs of all these citizens, who enjoy ever more free time and greater financial stability. Another point worth noting is that tourism is a mean of bringing together different cultures and reinforcing the European spirit, in a Europe that is becoming ever wider.  

Since 2009 when the first seniors came to Spain thanks to Europe Senior Tourism, almost 140,000 European citizens have visited the programme destinations in the four first editions, and we await the figures for the fifth season which is due to conclude in May 2015. The programme benefits these citizens by giving them the opportunity to travel, but it also favours the tourism sector by prolonging the season, and local governments by enabling them to sustain the labour market and save on unemployment benefits. The effect of Europe Senior Tourism on the Gross Domestic Product is estimated to be over 100 million euros; it has generated 2,000 jobs and a balance of payments surplus of 57.5 million euros. This is a programme that offers both social and economic benefits.

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