Elderly and Tourism

The concept of elderly tourism dates back to Ramayana. A character called Sharavan Kumar in Ramayana took his parents Shantanu and Gyanvanti to pilgrimage during their old age on his shoulders. And as the time evolved elderly going to pilgrimage became duty of parents and responsibility of their children to take them to pilgrimage.  In in most of the religions it also became religious ritual practice. But now in modern times it has become tourism activity for many elderly which in broader term also includes pilgrimage.

The elderly are people over the age of 55, with the term ‘older adults’ referring to people who are retired, typically at the age of 65 and older. The term is basically used to describe the spatial mobility of elderly people. Along with the dynamic increase in the touristic activity of the elderly observed in recent decades, the concept of senior tourism has been distinguished.

The suitability of the location to the elderly people’s condition, accessibility and convenience in accessing information are some of factors which influence their tourist destinations. Elderly have special needs and expectations when it comes to travelling. Safety, nature, historical sites, quality of services, and easy transportation connections are the top five attraction factors for seniors when choosing a destination. Motivation is the first step in exploring the prospects of the senior tourism segment.

Motivation behind Elderly tourism

  • Elderly possess large amounts of free time.
  • The increasingly better health conditions of elderly people, as well as raising awareness of physical activity, facilitate the popularization of active tourism
  • Elderly’s spiritual needs, health needs, recreation, rest, silence, meeting new people, relaxation, excitement, social interactions with friends or family, adventure, status, escape from routine or stress etc.
  • Family members (children, grandchildren) live far away, and holidays can provide a great way of meeting and spending time with family members. Moreover, it is important for seniors (as well as being an important factor for younger generations) to take rest and escape daily routines, and to experience something new
  • Increase in the travel and tourism companies

Advantages of Elderly tourism

  • Large potential source of economic growth
  • Increases the bonding among the family members
  • Elderly can get rid away from the problems such as loneliness, emotional need etc.

Challenges for Elderly Tourism

  • Financial reasons and health problems are the main barriers to travel for seniors
  • Safety of the destination and the journey
  • Not having necessary travel documents
  • Health issues of the elderly might restrict travel to some places having difficult terrain or at very high altitude.

Let us look at some of the tourism destinations for elderly in India

  • Pilgrimage Destinations
  • Chota Char Dham
  • Rameshwaram
  • Varanasi
  • Haridwar
  • Puri
  • Tirupati
  • Adventure and Wildlife Places
  • Jim Corbett National Park
  • Sundarbans
  • Manali
  • Nature and Leisure Getaways
  • Ooty
  • Goa
  • Munnar
  • Jaisalmer
  • Shillong
  • Andaman
  • .Culture and Heritage Places
  • Khajuraho
  • Agra
  • Tripura
  • Jaipur

 Precautions:

As a precautionary measure, it is advisable to get a physical health check-up done and take your doctor’s advise before planning any tourism. Do carry your doctor’s prescription, prescribed medicines, some basic medicines, stay hydrated, eat healthy, stay active but do not over exert during such tours. Know your body and mind and then enjoy the travel to your favorite destination. Make sure that there is easy access to dispensaries, doctors, hospitals, safe and secure environment, easy transportation, not very harsh weather conditions, good food available wherever you plan to visit.

Today’s elderly are a completely different social group than in previous decades. Older people are much better educated, live in better conditions, and have access to widely available information. They are interested in active lifestyles, both professionally and socially.As such they want to explore the world, spend their money on recreation and fun. It’s never too late to fulfil your dream of tourism if you have missed it during your early ages of life .Post sixty is the time to enjoy and relax even more after you have fulfilled all your responsibilities towards others. One who is young at heart can live their grand life even when they are old.

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