OREANDA-NEWS.  With over 1.2 billion nights spent during their trips all over the world in 2014, tourists aged 65 or over (hereafter "older tourists") living in the European Union (EU) accounted for 20% of the tourism activity (in terms of number of nights spent by EU residents). However, their share in tourism expenditure was a bit lower, standing at 16%. Indeed, an older tourist in the EU spent on average €52.6 per day, or €12.7 less than the average tourist.

In general, older tourists in the EU favour domestic holidays, which accounted for two-thirds (66%) of all their tourism nights (compared with 59% for all tourists), while outbound tourism represented a third (34%) in 2014. This pattern can be observed for a majority of Member States

On the occasion of the World Tourism Day (27 September), whose theme this year is "Tourism for all: promoting universal accessibility", Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, publishes a selection of data on participation in tourism of older people residing in the EU. An infographic on origins and destinations of tourists is also available on the Eurostat website.

The proportion of people aged 65 or over in all tourism nights was particularly high for residents of France and Cyprus, where they accounted for a quarter (25%) of all tourism nights in 2014, as well as for the Czech Republic, Greece and Sweden (all 24%), Ireland and Portugal (both 23%). At the opposite end of the scale, older tourists represented around 10% of nights spent by residents of Malta (9%), Bulgaria, Latvia and Slovenia (all 10%) as well as Estonia (11%).

In a small majority of EU Member States, older tourists favored domestic holidays over outbound trips, with the highest shares being recorded for residents of Spain (94%) and Greece (92%), followed by those of the Czech Republic and Romania (both 89%), Italy and Portugal (both 88%). In contrast, a large majority of older tourists living in Luxembourg (99%), Belgium (91%) and Malta (82%) went abroad in 2014.

Across the EU Member States in 2014, the older tourists who spent the most on average per day were those of Luxembourg (€120.8) and Austria (€106.9), ahead of Malta (€93.7), Belgium (€89.5), Ireland (€88.0) and Denmark (€85.1). At the opposite end of the scale, the lowest average expenditure per person and per day were recorded for older tourists living in the Czech Republic (€13.7), Romania (€13.8), Greece (€18.0) Lithuania (€19.1) and Hungary (€19.2).

For all Member States except Belgium, the average expenditure of older tourists was lower than the overall average. This was notably the case for Lithuania (€19.1 euros per person and day on average for older tourists, compared with €48.4 for the total average, or a difference of €29.3) and Slovakia (-€29.2), followed at a distance by Cyprus (-€24.8), Estonia (-€24.3) and Finland (-€24.1). At EU level, an older tourist spent on average €52.6 a day, compared with €65.3 for the overall average, or €12.7 less per day. It should be noted that tourism expenditures are influenced notably by the duration of trips and by the proportion of holidays spent in second homes or during off-peak seasons.