Fresh Tracks Canada rides grey travel wave
The grey wave of wanderers continues to build, as more silver spenders invest their retirement loot on leisure travel. Everything from pilgrimage hikes and gorilla safaris to cruises and beach holidays qualify for consideration by those who find themselves with post-career downtime – and the means to buy a travel experience.
Bookings are running at a pace defined as a peak surge, says Sushant Trivedi, the CEO of Fresh Tracks Canada, noting that holidays are now being scheduled for the spring and summer.
After toughing out the devastating conditions of the pandemic, Fresh Tracks has been in the midst of a booking bonanza that doubled both staff and revenues at the start of this year. In 2022, Fresh Tracks had its most successful fiscal year in the company’s 27-year history, and travelling seniors are a key component to this record.
Photos courtesy of Rocky Mountaineer
This is indicative of a worldwide aging population trend, leading seniors and retirees to play a more significant role in the tourism industry. Fresh Tracks Canada jumped into the fray to prioritize senior tourism and cater to their needs, says Trivedi. The company specializes in operating tour programs in Canada.
With a greater disposable income and willingness to spend on travelling, seniors and retirees are making their travel decisions with an expectation of higher levels of customer service, says the CEO.
The majority of Fresh Tracks’ customers are in the age group of 40 to 85, and ages 60 to 80 is the biggest portion of that cohort. The company says it has maintained a quality commitment even while many travel/tourism stakeholders, like hotels and airlines, have eroded service standards.
The grey travel wave has become even more prominent since the accelerated resignation rate of retirement-age workers that occurred during the pandemic. This resignation trend accelerated the pace of boomer retirements in 2020, and Canada’s working age has never been older, with 21.8% close to retirement age, says Statistics Canada.
A total of 30.3 million US baby boomers reported they were out of the labour force because of retirement in Q1 of 2021, indicating a significant increase from the average growth of 2 million retired boomers annually, says Stats Can.
By 2025, it is expected that people aged 65 and older will account for 11% of the world’s population. As such, their international travel and the number of cross-border trips they take per year will more than double, says Destination Canada, from a study commissioned to Resonance Consultancy. That study identified key trends that will most likely have an impact on the travel and tourism industry in Canada over the next one to three years.
Photos courtesy of VIA Rail
Fresh Tracks says it maintains better service levels with inclusive extras like gifts, including free meals and champagne to mark anniversaries, birthdays and other occasions.
“The number of seniors with a higher disposable income is growing, especially in the western world. They are willing to pay more if they see value for their money. Many seniors have saved for these trips, and after the pandemic they realize they should travel sooner than later,” said Trivedi.
Offshore and cross-border bookers make up the bulk to the Fresh Tracks client base, with travellers from the U.S. accounting for the most numbers, followed by the U.K. and Australia as top source markets.
Photos courtesy of VIA Rail