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Are the travel motivations of the 18-30's and the over 65's really so different?

Are the travel motivations of the 18-30's and the over 65's really so different?
Author: Benjamin Dickinson
2 Commentries
It is thought that the motivation for travel varies between different age groups, but is this the case, when the population is aging and living longer, the activities undertaken whilst travelling may be different between the groups but Is the personal reason for travelling and taking part in activity. Could club 18-30 and saga actual be the industries biggest competitors? A small survey has been conducted which will provide evidence which may support the similarities between the age groups.

"Variations in tourism participation are strongly related to age, and this is evident in the style of which many tour operators segment their holiday products by age (club 18-30, saga). There are many inequalities in terms of age and tourism. In the uk, statistics indicate that those aged 16-24 and over 65 are more likely to not have a holiday than other age groups"
(Page, S and Connell, J 2006)

Page et al, 2006 suggests that for the youth tourism market, the 18-30 age range is primarily marketed as backpackers or as consumers of mass tourism. The writer suggest that for some people within this age range that, tourism is used as a symbol of status, as it suggest access to funds and free time from employment. "young adulthood is a time to experiment, to develop confidence in one's own identity, to establish independence, to broaden horizons and to experience sexuality and relationships, and tourism can provide a useful outlet for such needs" (page et al, 2006)

Muller (1997) suggests "older people have the desire to squeeze in as many new activities as possible into their lives, and have the need to explore the world around them for as long as they have good health and physical ability", this is a suggestion that the over 65's are an active tourism sector, which seeks to learn and discover, these are effects which could be sought from cruising or coach travel, which are both notoriously popular with the older traveller (page, 2004).

The thoughts of page and Muller, regarding the motivations of both youth and older travellers, although show regard to the particular age group, do suggest a similar motivation for the purpose of travel, to engage in new experiences and to widen horizons. This is supported further by Guinn (1980) who highlights six generic motivations for travel. Education, learning, rest & relaxation, physical exercise, fitness and to visit friends and relatives.

Not only are the motivations of youth and older traveller's similar but it could also be suggested that constraints to travel are generic. McGuire (1984) suggests five constraints to travel for older people, external resources, time factors, approval, social and physical, it could be suggested that these listed constraints are not only applicable to that of the older traveller but are actually generic.

A small survey was carried out which shows regard to motivation to travel, the survey sampled ten potential youth tourists and ten potential 'older' tourists. The survey simply set out a small number of motivations and asked the respondent there reason for travel, a small number of optional responses were given and the option was made for the respondent to list there own. The majority of "youth" respondents highlighted to 'escape daily routine' and to 'experience new places' as there main reasons for motivation to travel, which mirrors the responses of the 'older' tourist, who also wished to 'experience new places'. It may be noted that the older traveller may be retired and not follow a routine like that of the youth traveller, this mirrors the thoughts of Norman (2001), "variables of retirement and income altered the link between age and motivation to travel"

Understandably, the wide age range between the groups would mean that travellers within the groups enjoy a different type of travel experience, but from research and previous discussion it may be suggested that motivations between the two groups are similar. The holiday product for the age groups will continue to remain different meetings the travel experience needs, and the chances of club 18-30 and saga becoming direct competitors is slim.

As a concluding point, this paper has highlighted the similarities in travel motivation for the youth and older markets. But has barely considered the 'family establishment' and the 'middle aged', two distinctly important market segments of the tourism industry. It may be that again the motivations of these travellers are similar but these market segments have further consideration's such as the family unit, time restrictions and disposable income. Age alone would not be a strong enough basis for determining the tourist's motivation and travel choices.

Guinn, R (1980) Elderly recreational vehicle tourists: motivations for leisure, journal of travel research (19) 9-12

McGuire, F (1984) a factor analytic study of leisure constraints in advanced adulthood, Leisure studies (6) 313-326

Muller, T (1997) the benevolent society; value and lifestyle changes among middle aged baby boomers, in, Korle, L and Chiqouris, l (eds) values, lifestyles and psychographics, Lawrence Erlbaum associates, rhanwan, new jersey 299-316

Norman, W, Daniels, M, McGuire, F & Norman, C (2001) whither the mature market; an empirical examination of the travel motivations of neo mature and veteran mature markets, journal of hospitality and leisure marketing (8) 113-130

Page, s (2003) European bus and coach travel, travel and tourism analyst, (1) 5-30

Page, s and Connell, J (2006) tourism; a modern synthesis, Thomson, London
Travel motivations between young and older tourists! Not as boring as you might think!
Author: Cindy Schmidt
People's motivation for travelling is often divided by their life stage. The title of your paper caught my attention because it is related to my work about senior tourists becoming of major importance in the tourism industry. I think that this paper has an interesting approach to the topic. Furthermore, primary research was undertaken and presented in this paper, which was found informative. However, a few problems appeared when reading your paper due to a few spelling mistakes which make it, especially for foreign readers like me, difficult to follow. Moreover, within this paper there are really good starting points for travel motivations of young and older people, nonetheless this could be improved by giving your work a more clear and fluent structure to follow your thoughts more easily.

As found in my paper, older age groups of tourists have become extremely active. Notably, people over 60 years feel at least 10 years younger and they are shifting towards more active pursuits with a strong focus on health and fitness (Hornemann et al., 2002, cited in Bokberger and Leasser, 2008, p. 313). It is therefore a really interesting topic to compare motivations of younger and older travellers since their lifestyles are perceived as quite dynamic and similar.

As for the older tourists, core motives of senior travellers seem to be 'exploration and relaxation' (Bokberger and Leasser, 2008, p. 321) which was supported in your paper by Page (2004) and Muller (1997) who found out that these motivations seem to be similar between younger and older age groups. Furthermore, Andreu, Kozac, Avci, and Cifter (2005, cited in Jönsson and Devonish, 2008, p. 401) found that age of a tourist had no significant influence on travel motivations as well. It is interesting to see that your survey underpins these opinions of the mentioned authors and that core motives seem to be similar for the young and elderly generation. It supports also the previous mentioned argument of Boksberger and Leasser (2008). I am sure that you also gave some more motivations in your full conference paper which presents even a greater insight on how driving forces affect the younger and older travel generation.

As well as in my paper, you were looking at some constraints of tourists which need to be taken into consideration. It was therefore revealed in your work by Mc Guire (1984) that external resources, time factors, approval, social and physical circumstances play an important role not only for older tourists but also for young travellers. The latter argument is also emphasized by Hunter-Jones and Blackburn (2007, p. 509): 'personal health influences all consumers when considering travelling not only seniors'.

It seems that the gap between motivations of the older and the younger generation is becoming smaller in a today's travel environment which is shown in your paper and was emphasized by several opinions as well as in your small survey. Future developments will show how these travel motivations might change even more, due to a constantly growing older society.

Boksberger, P. E. and Leasser, C. (2009) Segmentation of the senior travel market by the means of travel motivations. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 15 (4), pp. 311-322.

Hunter-Jones, P. and Blackburn, A. (2007) Understanding the relationship between holiday taking and self-assessed health: an exploratory study of senior tourism. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 31, pp. 509-516.

Jönsson, C. and Devonish, D. (2008) Does nationality, gender and age affect travel motivation? A case of visitors to the Caribbean Island of Barbados. Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, 25 (3/4), pp. 398-408.
Are the travel motivations of the 18-30's and the over 65's really so different?
Author: Laura Niinikoski
I chose to comment on this paper because it has some relations to the research I did for my paper. Mine has a focus on young tourist's and their behaviour so I have more knowledge about the young tourist sector rather than 'older' tourists.

Referring to the age the minimum age of a 'young' person is 15 years and the maximum can be as high as 38 years (Carr, 1998). What it comes to determining a young person the age may be the most important distinguishing factor. However according to World Tourism Organisation (1991 cited in Carr, 1998) the psychological and sociological characteristics of youth, the status and the economic capacity are also important factors. Clarke (1992 cited in Carr, 1998) claims that the term 'young' defines a person's social state which is in part induced by age. The same kind of approach is known within the tourism industry (Carr, 1998). Referring to these interpretations it could be claimed that even a 65 year old could be determined as 'young' to some extent. However the arguments of Page et al seen on the paper do not support the suggestion that the older tourists would be anyhow determined as young considering the factors that the young tourists are looking for from their journeys.

Carr (1998) claims that there are both similarities and differences between young and adult tourists. According to Gibson (1996 cited in Carr, 1998) the roles and experiences on a vacation are different. Factors such as excitement, risks, romantic encounters and freedom are more linked to young tourists rather than older ones. There are destinations especially aimed at youth market such as Ibiza. Bellis et al. (2000) found out in their study that the young individual's motivation for selecting Ibiza as their holiday destination included various reasons. The most important reason was the music scene, followed by the weather and only fewer individuals were attracted by sex or drugs. These kinds of motivations would be very unlikely to link to older tourists.

In the early adulthood stage the interest for exploring new has a meaningful role. During the 20s the individual lifestyle brings along freedom and more choices. Also the avoidance of big commitments is typical for this age. In the late 20s and in the beginning of 30s it is typical that both men and women become more interested in the culture. (Levinson 1996 cited in Gibson & Yiannakis, 2002) In this state there also appears a sense that life is turning more serious. The behaviour turns away from the roles associated with action and excitement. (Kelly 1982 cited in Gibson & Yiannakis, 2002) I think that the interest towards culture is an integrative factor between young and older tourists. Engaging new experiences and to widen horizon are also motivations that can be associated with both young and older tourists. The concluding sentence in the paper summarises everything quite well: "Age alone would not be a strong enough basis for determining the tourist's motivation and travel choices."


Bellis, M.A. et.al. (2000) Ibiza uncovered: changes in substance use and sexual behaviour amongst young people visiting an international night-life resort, International Journal of Drug Policy 11, pp. 235-244

Carr, N. (1998) The young tourist: A case of neglected research, Progress in Tourism and Hospitality Research 4, pp. 307-318

Gibson, H. & Yiannakis, A. (2002) Tourist roles, Annals of Tourism Research 29 (2), pp. 358-383