Local stakeholders from Pomorskie and Warmia-Mazury regions discuss senior tourism development possibilities

Monday, April 1, 2013

On 21st March 2013 in Elbląg the Association of Polish Communes Euroregion Baltic held a thematic seminar for representatives of local authorities, senior citizens associations, academia and tourism industry entitled “Seniors in tourism – a desirable target group or unwanted customers”. The discussion was moderated by Ms Joanna Zielińska-Szczepkowska from the University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn.

The seminar started with the opening words by Ms Małgorzata Samusjew, Association’s Programmes Manager. Ms Samusjew talked about current activities within the TOURAGE project with the aim of facilitating regional development policies in the area of senior tourism by exchanging good practices offered by the project partners. A detailed presentation of the TOURAGE project good practices was delivered by Mr Sebastian Magier, Project Specialist at the Association. 

The seminar continued with the moderator presenting an extensive lecture on the development of tourist services for seniors, demographic trends in ageing societies, tourist consumption of Polish seniors in comparison with global tendencies, as well as recent statistics on travelling preferences of seniors. The lecture concluded with examples of regional good practices in Warmia-Mazury.

After the lecture representatives of non-governmental organisations presented various activities related to the development of senior tourism. Mr Bartłomiej Głuszak delivered a presentation about the role of the FOSa Federation of Social Organisations in supporting seniors from the Warmia-Mazury regions, while Ms Justyna Ocalewicz from the Elbląg Association for the Support of Non-Governmental Initiatives gave an overview of the activities of a partnership of theme villages called “Places of the Soul”. Finally, Ms Joanna Staruszkiewicz presented current initiatives undertaken by the Forum Foundation in Gdańsk.

During the final part of the seminar participants were engaged in a series of discussions focusing on the tourist potential of seniors, evaluation of the quality of the existing tourist offer and the role of local authorities and entrepreneurs in promoting tourism among seniors. The participants also offered their views on the main problems hindering the development  of senior tourism in Poland such as the insufficient dissemination of tourist offers resulting from low computer literacy of seniors, lack of tourist packages tailored to the needs of seniors or inadequate funding for senior tourism development projects. The discussion concluded with proposals to elaborate a regional catalogue of tourist offers for seniors.