Over the hills and far away
SENIOR holiday-makers, particularly those cashed-up enough to afford an excursion by private charter jet or a couple of weeks of luxury cruising, are opting for exotic travel in the soft adventure category — that is, adventure with security and civilised comforts.
Luxury travel specialists say seniors — travellers aged in their mid-50s or older — are particularly energetic, intent on cramming every experience possible into their itineraries.
‘‘We find that seniors are amazing travellers who want to be active,’’ says Phil Asker, chief executive of Captain’s Choice Tours, a specialist in private jet holidays, train journeys and cruises to exotic and sometimes remote destinations. ‘‘They are trying to tick off [experiences and destinations on] their bucket list.’’
Asker says a good proportion of his clients are in their 60s, 70s and 80s and some have the time and resources to book as many as four trips a year. The Captain’s Choice 2015 tour of Gallipoli, including 14 nights on Silversea’s luxury cruise ship Silver Wind, one night in Athens and a side trip to the El Alamein battlefields in Egypt, is priced from $14,000 a person and Asker says it is selling fast. ‘‘We are one-third full after being on the market less than a week,’’ he says.
Silversea general manager Karen Christensen adds that mature luxury cruise passengers tend to be very experienced travellers. ‘‘Retirees have more leisure time to spare, so longer cruises such as the 2014 World Cruise on Silver Whisper, visiting 54 ports in 29 countries over 113 days, will appeal to many retired Australians,’’ she says.
Sujata Raman, Abercrombie & Kent’s managing director, Australia and New Zealand, says clients in their 60s prefer itineraries in South America and Africa, but by the time they reach their 80s they favour Southeast Asia and Europe.
‘‘Our experience is that the older traveller is a lot more active and wants to engage.’’
She adds that like their younger counterparts, older travellers are looking for comfortable, memorable accommodation and fabulous cuisine.
‘‘They [also] want to be assured of the reliability of tour operations on the ground.’’
Raman says meeting interesting people or getting behind-the-scenes access is also high on the agenda for older travellers.
‘‘They have quite specific objectives when choosing a product — it’s either a place that they have not been to [and want to enjoy in greater depth] or they are seeking a different kind of experience and new [and emerging] destinations.’’