Aging Baby Boomer Market, and Growing Middle Classes in India & China Shift Global Travel Patterns

12 April 2011
  • Emerging middle classes of China and India will create ripples of change in the hospitality and travel sectors far into the future;
  • Baby boomer market will constitute a big market to the tourism industry
  • London 2012 presents greatest opportunity to launch holiday GB to the world
The ageing baby boomer generation and the emerging middle classes of China and India will create new patterns of travel demand in the West, and important new source markets in the East in the coming years, according to Deloitte, the business advisory firm.

Speaking at the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) Travel Matters Conference in London today, Alex Kyriakidis, global managing director of tourism, hospitality & leisure at Deloitte, said: “As the global population is evolving, so the pockets of disposable income available for travel are shifting.

“Affluent baby boomers, the inventors of backpacking, are moving into retirement, living longer and are hungry for travel experiences. They have strong purchasing power, are interested in culture and are used to travel. They also have larger budgets than in their youth, making them the most desirable market demographic niche today.

“The middle classes in the emerging markets are expanding rapidly and most of the new entrants will come from China and India. Despite their disposable income lagging behind that of the West, international tourism from these two source markets will accelerate over the next few years.”

Amongst the baby boomers, those from the US are forecasted to account for 60% of the nation’s wealth and 40% of spending by 20151. Chinese visitors to the UK are still relatively low at around 90,000 each year2, with France, Italy and Germany proving more popular. However, they stay a long time (on average 13 nights) and spend £1,300 during that time (compared to £550 on average for all visitors)3. The UK is the third most preferred international destination for Indian tourists, who are forecasted to number 50 million by 20204.

Kyriakidis commented: “Hospitality operators in the UK who understand the drives and needs of these growing demographics will reap the rewards and become the future leaders in the industry. In the UK, the 2012 London Olympic Games will provide arguably the greatest opportunity to launch holiday GB to the world.”

A survey of 115 tourism and hospitality companies by Deloitte found that 60% thought that London 2012 would result in an increase in demand for their services, with just 8% thinking it would lead to a decrease.