Monday 22 May 2017

Retirees are flexing their buying power

TRAVEL BOUND: (From left) Mags Smart from Specsavers, Wexford, Terry Dolan from Wexford, Kevin Molloy from Active Retirement Ireland and Madeline Quirke, of Wexford Chamber of Commerce. Photo: Mary Browne
TRAVEL BOUND: (From left) Mags Smart from Specsavers, Wexford, Terry Dolan from Wexford, Kevin Molloy from Active Retirement Ireland and Madeline Quirke, of Wexford Chamber of Commerce. Photo: Mary Browne
Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

Retirees are breaking open the nest eggs and leading the charge for luxury holidays as the dark clouds of recession recede.

Since the start of this year travel agents have reported a significant hike in the retirees' market.

Martin Skelly, past president and current board member of the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA), said Ireland's over 60s are sampling more exotic holiday destinations.

During the recession, he said, many older people were "reluctant" to be seen splurging large amounts on trips.

However, consumer confidence has started to shift, especially among senior travellers.

"It wasn't fashionable to spend huge amounts of money in the past, but that hesitancy has now largely dissipated.

"Many of the people spending the bigger amounts on holidays are retired or semi-retired.

"They like to go on well-organised trips where the hotel accommodation is of a high standard.

"They also tend to pick luxury coach tours.

"Many of the luxury cruises are selling extremely well.

"The luxury market has gradually increased over the past three years, and we've noticed significantly more activity in this area since the end of 2015."

Meanwhile, Peter Kavanagh from Active Retirement Ireland, said that the legacy of the recession hasn't completely gone away, and "value for money" still remains top of the shopping list.

But he stressed demand is definitely on the up among those looking to enjoy their retirement in style.

"Retirees are canny customers and they like to snap up a bargain.

"However, not all of them have the money for cruises, so the so-called bargain tourism industry is still incredibly important."

Mr Kavanagh was speaking ahead of the Active Retirement Ireland Trade and Tourism Show in the Clayton Whites Hotel, Wexford, on Wednesday.

With an attendance of over 2,000, the event will showcase what's on offer from a range of exhibitors, and provide an opportunity for retirees, and those near retirement age, to view the best discounts, travel deals and packages available.

Now in its sixth year, the event is free to members of the public, and features workshops and demonstrations, as well as dozens of stands featuring fashion advice and music, as well as arts and crafts.

Sunday Independent

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