“The number of older Germans going on holidays and other leisure trips will rise significantly in the coming years, making them more important to the travel industry than ever before,” reports the German travel trade publication FVW, citing data in the just released results of the annual FUR Reiseanalyse market survey.
For those who have been following trends in the German population for the past decade, the development comes as no surprise and it signals to travel suppliers worldwide who have sold to the German market—this includes the United States, for whom Germany is the Number 4 overseas source market—that they will have to dig deeper into the base of traveling Germans, whose overall numbers are stuck in a “no growth-slow growth” path, as the following data suggest.
Now, here is the population of Germany that overlaps the same period. It has remained essentially unchanged.
The reason for the static population is that the birth rate among Germans is the lowest among the world’s developed countries. Two years ago, Germany’s birth rate fell below that of Japan, the previous holder of the distinction of having the lowest birth rate. In Germany, an average of 8.2 children were born per 1,000 inhabitants during the five year period of 2010-2015, according to a study by German auditing firm BDO with the Hamburg Institute of International Economics. It said Japan saw 8.4 children born per 1,000 inhabitants over the same time period.
And, according to the CIA’s World Factbook, in 2016, Germany had the world’s third-highest median age (46.8 years), just behind that of Japan (46.9 years) and Monaco (52.4 years) among 227 countries.
The Growing Silver Travel Market: As a consequence of its aging population, more German seniors are traveling more. Here are some highlights from the FUR Reiseanalyse:
—Germans aged between 65 and 74 went on 8.65 million trips last year. In comparison, working people aged 55 to 64 undertook 7.1 million vacation trips last year.
—By 2025, 60-69 year-olds will account for 17 percent (vs. 14 percent now) of travelers.
—By 2025, people aged 70 over will account for 19 percent (vs. 16 percent now) of all holiday trips.
—Put another way, older travelers will comprise well over one third of the German travel market by 2025.
At the same time, the FUR Reiseanalyse predicted a decline in the share of all other age groups, except for 30-39 year-olds whose share could rise slightly to 14 percent.
What Does This Say About German Seniors? The managing director of the Institute for Tourism and Spa Research in Northern Europe (NIT), and FUR’s lead researcher, Martin Lohmann, told FVW: “The importance of pensioners will increase in the coming years due to demographic trends … Older people today are more flexible, fitter and more accustomed to traveling than they used to be.”