We should be in no doubt then that the potential pool of international tourists will be characterised by a growing dominance of older age groups in the decades to come.
A few of the implications for tourism businesses include the growing trend for grandparents to take their grandchildren on holiday, a growing potential customer base with plenty of leisure time, and if pension time bombs don’t explode in developed countries, disposable income.
Certainly more and more people in later life enjoy good health but inevitably as the number of older people increases so to does the number who have mobility or other health problems.
The presence of illness or impairment need not be a barrier to international travel, and as a generation who have been used to taking foreign holidays moves into their 70s, 80s and 90s it is likely that they will expect tourism businesses to provide goods and services tailored to their particular needs.
It is not just the demand side that tourism businesses need consider in terms of an ageing population.
We will see a growing pool of skilled workers in their 60s and 70s choosing to (or sometimes due to financial pressures having to) remain in employment beyond the traditional age of retirement, presenting both a challenge, but equally a unique opportunity to tap into a wealth of experience, most notably a level experience of international travel never previously found among these age groups.