Hamilton, New Zealand - Leaders in New Zealand's senior tourism market, Calder & Lawson Tours, say evidence is pointing toward a revolutionary change in destination choices by New Zealand's senior travellers.
Calder & Lawson Tours General Manager, Catherine Gerbich, puts it down to the fact that the 55+ demographic is looking for more adventure.
"Ten, or even as little as five years ago, older travellers were content with a two-week holiday on the Gold Coast. But, we are finding there is a major shift in the market away from traditional tourism spots over to more exotic destinations.
"Seniors are fitter and more active than they were a decade ago. Plus, we're finding the Internet and increasing globalisation has piqued people's curiosity about far-reaching destinations that were virtually unheard of just a few years ago. We're finding more and more seniors want to immerse themselves in cultures within the less-explored corners of the world," she explains.
Since its inception, Calder & Lawson Tours has led approximately 8,000 people - most over 50 years of age - on escorted tours to nearly every region around the globe. Its team of 17 New Zealand-based tour leaders has over 100 years of combined tour leading experience and escorts around 350 people each year to destinations abroad.
Miss Gerbich says the senior traveller is increasingly abandoning ordinary destinations, such as Australia, for Middle Eastern and Eastern Bloc countries.
"To give you an idea for how senior travellers' destination choices have changed, up until 2004 Calder & Lawson Tours ran only one walking tour every year to what many may consider ordinary destinations like Tasmania, Western Australia, Greece and China.
"By 2005 we were including up to three walking tours and leading approximately 100 passengers on walking adventures to France, Tasmania and Italy amongst our regular programme. A real shift came around 2008, when our walking and travel & learn tour destinations began to include places like Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Russia and Central Europe.
"In 2012, approximately 30% of our walking and travel & learn tours will take our guests to adventurous destinations like Sri Lanka, Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan," says Miss Gerbich.
Calder & Lawson Tours is a unique travel company that combines in-situ cultural learning experiences within its tour packages. The company spun out of the University of Waikato in 1997, where its commitment to cultural education was established.
For more information about Calder & Lawson Tours, visit www.calderandlawsontours.co.nz .
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