Catering to the Needs of the Expatriate Retirees in the Travel Industry

Older travelers, especially the so-called senior citizens, are increasingly finding international travel to be an educational and enjoyable way to spend their retirement years. In addition to these expatriate travelers, according to the U.S. Department of State bulletin Travel Tips For Older Americans, there are more than 3 million Americans who live full time in foreign countries. Combine the expatriate travelers with the expatriate living group and you have a significant population of the U.S. citizenry spending time abroad.

Comparable numbers of citizens from other countries are also living abroad. Some are employees of multinational companies or entrepreneurs who have established a new life abroad. Others are simply enjoying their retirement years through travel while some are exploring possible expatriate living destinations. Many of these are retirees. All are an increasing target market for multiple products and services, especially the travel industry.

There are already frequent senior tour groups that cater to the elderly, primarily smaller groups with a slower pace. They have been very popular and profitable for the travel agencies planning them and most likely will continue to be so as the world population ages. These tours generally provide better travel transportation and hotel accommodations due the special needs of the elderly population.

Creating tours for the senior population who are considering an expatriate living experience is a new niche for the travel industry and one which has a lot of potential. There is an increasing number of American and European retirees looking for a less expensive place in which to retire. They see pre-move exploratory tours as a chance to see firsthand what they will experience on a daily basis if they retire to these destinations.

A travel agency or travel promoter who can provide a tour that gives the prospective expatriate an opportunity to explore different areas of a specific country of interest or briefly visit several countries of interest has a built in market. Couple the travel arrangements with a expatriate living seminar as part of the trip and the possibilities are multiplied several times over.

Cruises are ideal for expatriate living exploration. The fact that the traveler can control his or her own degree of participation and activity while having the opportunity to visit several countries adds to the benefits of such travel. It is easy to include a series of presentations on expatriate living considerations while enroute. Specific information related to retirement in the destination of the day would further enhance the experience.

I have personally been on cruises where topics of special interest to the senior population, like genealogy, have been presented in a series of lectures and discussions. Doing the same by exploring the different aspects of expatriate living in a lecture series could not only draw prospective clients to the cruise but add a new client base to an agency’s bottom line.