Over-50s travellers are set to gravitate towards booking with specialists, according to Aito’s latest travel insights report.
The association’s latest survey polled 28,500 respondents – customers or contacts of around 50 Aito tour operator and agent members – 87% of whom were aged 50 and over.
Four in five respondents (80%) said they wanted to travel again as soon as it is possible, with 94% stating they were likely to spend the same amount – or more – on a holiday as they did when they last travelled.
Some 60% of those surveyed said they were likely to book with a specialist operator, up from 38% in 2019, while those who said they were likely to book directly with an airline has fallen to 39% from 62% in 2019.
Just three in 10 respondents (30%), meanwhile, said they would be booking their accommodation directly, down from 39% in 2019.
Aito said the research pointed towards more people looking for the security afforded by a fully financially protected trip.
Martyn Sumners, Aito executive director, said the typical Aito traveller was 50-plus and would therefore likely already be vaccinated against Covid-19, or by mid-June depending on their age.
He added that besides access to vaccination, their other main barriers to travel were infection rates in destination and travel insurance with Covid provisions – not finances.
"They are not really affected financially by the pandemic and are traditionally higher spenders, prepared to pay more for a better experience," said Sumners.
"Now, more than ever, they are shunning the do-it-yourself holiday and, instead, they are booking a package with a specialist tour operator.
"This not only offers them full financial protection, but opens up a world of rich and fascinating experiences, whether they are interested in art and culture, walking, historic attractions or nature."
Aito also found sustainability to be particularly important to over-50s travellers, with respondents flagging concerns over their carbon footprint in particular.