Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Workshop on low/medium season tourism for seniors and youth in Europe

Workshop on low/medium season tourism for seniors and youth in Europe
Published on: 23/06/2015
The Tourism, Creative and Emerging Industries Unit held a workshop to discuss the challenge of tourism seasonality, looking specifically at the senior and youth markets in the EU, and relevant international markets.
Event date: 18/06/2015
Location: Auditorium - Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

The extension of the tourism season brings market opportunities to improve the competitiveness of the industry. The aim of this workshop was to exchange ideas, expertise and best practice on important issues relating to the facilitation of cooperation among stakeholders in the long-run development of innovative solutions to increase off-season travel for senior and young travellers.    

Experts from public authorities and organisations, industry, private businesses and organisations, civil society, research institutions, networks and associations at international, European, national and regional-local level participated in a brainstorming session of knowledge on the senior and youth tourism markets.

Potential of the senior, youth and international markets

  • The senior travel market in Europe offers high potential for tourism development outside the main season. People aged 55+ will represent about 34% of the total EU population in 2020. Their potential is not yet fully exploited: yearly only 52% of them currently travel for personal reasons, and only 2 out of 10 travel to outbound destinations.
  • The youth market is one of the fastest growing and most dynamic markets worldwide. In 2012, young Europeans aged 15-34 made 83 million trips, or 32% of all trips made by Europeans in that year. According to the World Tourism Organizatio, UNWTO, by 2020, the youth travel industry will grow to US$320 billion per annum and there will be almost 300 million international youth trips per year. It represents innovative attitudes, combats the effects of seasonality, spreads tourism to new areas and builds future tourism business.
  • Non-European markets would also fit in a strategy to respond to seasonality. Outside Europe, three markets show the best prospects for tourism growth: USA, China and Brazil. Arrivals to Europe from these three markets are forecast to grow by 2.5 million next year, and by 10 million by 2020 - an additional demand that could generate up to EUR 7 billion in tourism receipts. The most attractive feature of these markets is that some of their main holidays happen during Europe's low seasons: January and February, for example, are the months when Brazilians take their summer break and when China's New Year celebrations occur.  

What the workshop achieved

  • A gain in intelligence on the socio-economic opportunities of the senior and youth travel markets, particularly in the low-medium season.
  • A gain in intelligence on the main international tourism markets with potential to attract tourists particularly during the low and medium seasons (USA, China and Brazil.
  • The identification of existing or potential new tourism products, models, transnational exchanges (for example, among schools, sports associations and third-age universities), and cooperation mechanisms that address specific senior or youth needs.