Quite funny that the marketing folk are already gearing up for the holiday traffic. Christmas is so old news.
That said, it seems a stunning amount of people in their fifties are deciding to spend this Christmas abroad, with 71% of festive vacation-goers over the age of 51, new data from UK travel retailer Holiday Hypermarket has revealed. It does sound slightly appealing escaping the John Lewis (et al) adverts, to be honest, not to mention the short days and the cold weather. But would Christmas in the sun, enjoying oneself, feel right. After all, we are supposed to be jingling those bells and having a jolly old midwinter time which Christmas briefly stops from being so bleak.
In an analysis of bookings for Christmas 2016, the company found that 81% of these travellers were couples – meaning that the vast majority were holidaying without their families. Ah, can’t think why!
The top holiday destination of choice is Tenerife, a place I’ve never been to as I don’t fancy it, but plenty have and do, with as many as 24% of bookings flying out on the 20th of December to the popular resort in the Canaries for the Christmas period.
Interestingly, the numbers for people going on holiday over Christmas in their 60s is significantly lower, making up only 14% of all bookings.
Commenting on the findings, Holiday Hypermarket representative Ian Crawford said: “There’s always been a strong interest in travel over the Christmas and New Year break, but it seems that winter sun is really popular at the moment, especially with slightly older couples. Those over 50 do tend to have a bit more money and time available to travel. We’re interested in why the numbers of winter holidaymakers seems to drop at 60+ though.
Initially, we thought it may be down to wanting to spend time with their grandchildren. The average age for a first-time grandparent in the UK is 47, so it doesn’t seem that this is the reason. Anecdotally, though, it seems from speaking to our customers that many people in their 60s simply feel more comfortable spending Christmas at home. It will be interesting to see how this figure changes over the coming years for this reason. In five to ten years, it may be significantly different.”
I am ever so slightly gobsmacked that the average age for being a grandparent is 47! I feel I’m doing well to have reached my mid-50s without (so far) such distinguished status and additional responsibilities. As part of the sandwich generation, the jammy bit in the middle of the sandwich actually, I’d like to hold off a good while longer on the grandchildren. Let me tackle rent and the dementia first before I get back to nappies.
Additionally, I am also slightly more amazed that I am supposed to have more money, because with university costs and elder care costs it just ain’t happening. More disposable income? I don’t think so. That said, I’m also working less (but just because the work I used to do doesn’t really exist here in Bude and I really didn’t come all this way to commute to Exeter or Plymouth ).
“Many people in their 50s spend Christmas abroad with friends and family, and we also know that quite a lot of over 50s have second homes abroad that they regularly visit,” adds Martin Lock, CEO of Silversurfers.com, the leading online community for the over 50s.
“A lot of the over 50s also have relatives living in destinations like Spain, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand and visit them at this festive time of year. On the Silversurfer’s Facebook site which has nearly 300,000 members, we note lots of comments from our community posting to their friends and families abroad and vice versa.”
Maybe some will decide to go exotic and come to sunny and beautiful Bude instead, though Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand seem soooooo tempting…