Over the hills and far away

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence - LISA ALLEN

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.’’

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