Touring truly shines for the mature market, says Shearings national sales manager Michael Bowers

So, I’m 50 in 6 months time. F-I-F-T-Y, the big 5-0. A fully-fledged member of the middle-aged club, sadly unlike many in this sector I don’t hold much of the wealth or have the same amount of free time that we all read about but just like them I can expect a plethora of aged related mail, sure, I’ll get a few birthday cards but they will be significantly outweighed by the number of promotional mailings including stair lifts, walk in baths, funeral plans and…..escorted touring brochures! The latter category doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

Whilst I may look 50, I certainly don’t feel it. In my mind I’m still the 18 year old exploring the world and I don’t see that changing any time soon. That said, I no longer have the desire to be backpacking on $10 a day sleeping in the cheapest hostel in town. The wanderlust and curiosity are still there but just like most of those around my age and beyond, I need a little luxury these days, even if it’s just a simple cabin or hotel room. Personal security can be an issue too as we age and most people would certainly feel more comfortable exploring cities like Rio and La Paz, or even the jungles of Borneo in a small group with a local guide rather than independently.

This is where touring shines, there are a mind-boggling choice of itineraries out there now covering every continent and I’d dare to say that there is something to suit most needs and budgets. At Shearings, we like to say that touring makes the difficult easy and offers people the destinations they want to explore with all the key elements included. Whether that’s looking for adventure in the Amazon Jungle or a classical cities tour of Italy. Customers want more immersion now and tours can offer a nice blend of included experiences and free time to explore, or relax, at leisure.

This age group is the dream market, they have lived a bit, have plenty of life experience and usually know what they want to do. In fact they have a list which you may have heard of and quite often all you have to do is ask what’s on it and then assist with tour suggestions. Don’t be surprised if it’s one of our ‘Round the world in 30 days’ tours.

Those in their 70’s are often referred to as the golden generation, not because of their age but the life they have enjoyed including, free university education, mass employment and of course a little something called the housing boom! This, along with medical innovation has seen them become a travelling force! And boy have these guys lived! This generation started the music festival craze with ‘Woodstock’, lived through the swinging sixties and founded the punk movement.

Just like me, today’s mature travellers don’t feel old – whatever their passport says. My Dad and Uncle are in their early 70’s and both are enjoying their retirement taking several holidays a year, in fact, my uncle has just returned from three weeks touring in India.

The world is a big place, full of so much choice when it come to travel. For agents, the hardest task can be finding the right tour to fit the needs of each customer. To help, we have categorising a number of our holidays under themes such as: flavour; history; culture; nature; adventure and relaxation.

Someone once said that youth is wasted on the young and the older I get, the more I agree with it.

Touring & Adventure: The Hotlist