With Baby Boomers retrenching from the recession and the shrinkage of their retirement savings, they may not be spending as lavishly on vacations as they used to. All the more reason for tourism destinations to refine their product and their marketing spiel to appeal to Boomer sensitivities.
Writing on TwinCities.com, Debra O'Connor does a great job of capturing the new zeitgeist. Boomers don't go on vacation to relax, she says. They go on vacation to experience things. That's not to say there's no market for chilling out by the beach and plowing through a bookshelf of trashy novels. But Boomers are far more desirous of immersing themselves in a local culture, challenging themselves physically or learning something new.
Among the vacations that Boomers like to take:
Adventure: Exotic destinations and/or physically challenging activities
Midlife odyssey: Jump-starting a personal or professional change via arduous circumstances, which may include fasting or a spiritual journey, such as a hike across the Sinai Desert
Education: Constantly upgrading their knowledge; for example, lectures on board a cruise ship and scholarly tours of the Vatican
Experiential: Cooking classes in Tuscany, bungee-jumping in New Zealand, grape-stomping in Napa Valley
Volunteer opportunities: "Voluntourism" ranging from helping the poor in Peru for weeks to spending a few days helping to restore a church in Provence
Luxury: On cruises, that means smaller ships with concierges and staterooms with balconies; in the woods or on safari, it's "glamping" — glamour camping — staying in tents that have maid service
(Image credit: Organic Tuscany.)