Term Paper: Current Situation of Silver Tourism and the Future in the USA

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¶ … Silver Tourism and its Future in the U.S.A.

Travel Market General Situation

Travel Market Segments

Current Situation of the Silver Travel Segment

Silver Tourism Future Trends

The Mature Traveler segment is the most stable and probably the most important travel market segment, with tremendous growth opportunities that will be discussed in the following pages.

The following pages focus on gathering information that characterizes the travel market of the United States in general, and the silver tourism segment in particular. The retrieved information will also be analyzed, in order to provide a clear image of the mature travel segment in the United States. For this research project, secondary sources were used, especially government sources, given the accuracy of data provided by such sources.

The paper starts by presenting and explaining the methodology behind this research project. Given the fact that secondary sources were used for gathering data on the subject, this fact will be explained in the Methodology section.

The paper continues with the Findings and Discussion section. In this case, the Findings section and the Discussion section were combined, in order to make it easier for the writer to present the results found and to discuss them, and for the reader to get a more clear idea on the presented facts. This section begins with providing an overview on the United States' travel and tourism general situation. This will provide the framework required for studying the mature travel market that follows. The following section discusses the most important characteristics of the mature segment and of its subdivisions. This section is followed by another, discussing future trends on the subject.

The paper ends with the Conclusions section. This section generally presents the findings discussed in the above mentioned sections. All the sources consulted for gathering the information for this research project are listed in the Reference List

1. Methodology

In the case of a research project, even when it is necessary to collect primary information, the first step of the research must consist in consulting the most adequate secondary sources. In our situation, secondary sources will ensure most of the information presented in the following section.

For this research project, the most useful secondary sources have been identified, on the one hand, and they have been evaluated in accordance with the requirements of the researched situation. For this market research secondary sources have been consulted, as an essential condition, given the fact that such sources present the highest degree of accessibility and they ensure a more thorough image on the tourism market in the U.S.A. In general, and of the silver tourism market in particular.

In this research on silver tourism market, secondary information contributed to increasing the degree of understanding the problem in cause, elaborating research hypotheses, identifying a suitable research method and the nature of the data that must be obtained, and establishing an adequate interpretation of the information.

2. Findings and Discussion

2.1. U.S. Travel Market General Situation

In order to better understand the silver tourism market in the U.S.A., its evolution, its current situation, and future trends that are likely to affect this market segment, one must first provide a general view on the U.S. travel market that incorporates the market segment studied in this research.

The research has generated a series of facts that currently characterize the travel market in the U.S. Some demographic facts are listed below:

The average age of travelers revolves around 46 years

Of the total of travelers, 70% are married, 16% are single, and 14% are divorced or separated

39% of travelers own a college degree

Regarding the employment of travelers, 67% of travelers are fulltime or part-time employed, while 14% are retired

36% of travelers have children

The annual household income reaches $70,200 mean, and $62,900 median (TIA, 2005).

Recent reports have revealed that the travel market in the U.S. has intensively increased over the past few years. In 2005, there were 1,992 million person-trips. Regarding the purpose of trips, their structure is the following: 75% leisure travel, 25% business or convention travel, 9% combined business and pleasure travel. The most preferred mode of transportation for U.S. travelers is by far the auto, truck, or RV, reaching 85%, followed in the distance by airplane 9%, bus or motorcoach 2%, train, ship or other 4%, and rental car usage 6%. In the preferred activities for domestic travelers, dining comes first, followed by shopping and entertainment.

Over the past decade, the U.S. domestic travel volume has increased 12.6%. The table below presents this evolution:

Total U.S. Domestic Travel Volume

Volume

Source: Travel Industry Association.

Note: the values are expressed in millions person-trips.

The domestic trip activity participation remains quite constant: shopping 30%, attend a social or family event 27%, outdoor 11%, city or urban sightseeing 10%, rural sightseeing 10%, beach activities 9%, historic places, sites, museums 8%, gambling 7%, theme or amusement park 7%, national or state park 7%, seminar or courses 6%, nightlife or dancing 6%, attend sport events 6%, zoo or aquarium or science museum 5%, water sports or boating 4%, performing arts 4%, cultural events or festivals 3%, golf 2%, art museums or galleries 2%, winter sports 1%.

Most of domestic person-trips take place in summer, with 38%. The months of July and August have the highest share, reaching over 10%. The other seasons reached the following shares: winter 24%, spring 25%, fall 23%.

Most of the trips mentioned above are very short, ranging from no nights 51% to 1-2 nights 29%, 3-6 nights 15%, 7 nights or more 5%.

2.2. U.S. Travel Market Segments

As revealed above, the travel market in the United States is following an ascending direction, expanding its volume and diversifying its offers. Every segment of the travel market is registering increasing values. Also, each of the travel market's segments show serious signs that this development will continue in the future period of time. The following section will focus on describing each important segment of the travel market.

The African-American travel segment has increased by 4%, from 72.2 million to 75.2 million person-trips. This segment has registered the most important increase, compared to other segments. In this market segment, the structure of person-trips is the following: leisure 74%, visiting friends or relatives 44%, business 22%. Favorite destinations include: Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, and Texas.

The Asian-American travel segment has registered an even more significant increase, of 10%, from 30 million to 33.1 million person-trips. The travel structure was the following: leisure 77%, visiting friends and relatives 40%, entertainment 18%, outdoor recreation 8%, business travel 21%. Another relevant fact regarding this segment is the fact that it is more likely to include shopping activity, compared to other segments.

One of the travel market segments that are decreasing is the business travel segment, which has decreased 2%, reaching 210.5 million person-trips. The favorite outdoor vacation activity consists in camping. Most of the travelers that visit the United States come from Canada and Mexico.

2.3. Current Situation of the Silver Travel Segment

The travel market can be divided into several segments in terms of several factors. The age factor reveals 11 life stage segments, by relating life stages with different generations that stand out. These segments are: Generation X or Generation Y (Young), Baby Boomers (Middle), Empty Nesters and Seniors (Older). The largest segment is the Middle Parent households that account for 23% of shares.

However, the segment that will be analyzed in the following pages is consisted of the mature segment. Mature household trips, this including people over 55 years of age, last the longest, compared to other travel segments: the average is 4.8 nights, and 16% last seven or more nights on their trips (TIA, 2006).

In addition to this, this segment accounts for a higher share of day trips, reaching 26% of the total of trips. This situation establishes the mature traveler segments as number one compared to other age segments, with 3.5 nights average trip durations.

The hotel, motel, or B & B. are the most preferred accommodations, reaching 53% of travelers, while 41% of them choose their friends' or relatives' homes for staying during their trip. Another fact revealed by several research projects is that "mature household trips are the most likely of all generation groups to be generated by multiple adults traveling without children" (TIA, 2006). Given the fact that this segment is continually registering increases in number and volume and the fact that the financial power and availability of time are quite high, it makes of this segment a very attractive opportunity with continuous growth and development possibilities.

The mature travel segment itself is subdivided into two other segments: Junior Matures aged 55 to 64, and Senior Matures aged 65 and older. Nowadays travel industry is influenced by a very important demographic trend: the aging of the U.S. population. Even more, this factor is correlated with another: in 2001, the first members of the Baby Boom generation, reaching 78 million, turned 55 years of age, entering the mature… [END OF PREVIEW]

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