Travel habits, barriers and motivations of North Karelian seniors

Friday, November 22, 2013


According to a survey exploring the travel habits, barriers and motivations of North Karelian pensioners aged 62 or over, North Karelian seniors rely strongly on their own experiences and friends’ recommendations when they are choosing a destination for their holiday trip. They also travel throughout the year. The most popular season for travelling is autumn (61,6 %) and the least favorable summer (31,4 %). Around 45 percent of the respondents stated that they travel also in spring and winter.

When asked about the most recent holiday trips, over half of the pensioners (56,3 %) had travelled to an attraction in their home country (Finland), whereas 26,3 percent to Estonia and 19,7 percent to Spain. Despite the fact that the region of North Karelia is bordering Russia, only 8,4%  of the seniors had recently travelled to Russia. The countries where North Karelian seniors have travelled during their latest holiday trips are indicated in the enclosed picture. The picture also shows what percentage of the holiday trips were made to Finland, Europe (excluding Finland), Asia, Africa, Russia, North America and South and Central America.  

According to the results, the most significant factors that have prevented North Karelian pensioners from travelling were financial reasons (34,2 %) and lack of interesting supply (27,9 %). This result suggests that senior tourism could be developed by offering low-priced or discounted travel products such as accommodation packages for seniors during low season or on the less busy weekdays. These products should be developed in cooperation with seniors, which would ensure that the supply is more interesting and suitable for the target group. Other significant travel barriers were lack of travelling companion, concern over safety in the destination, health problems, poor transportation connections and lack of time. Most of these barriers can be overcome with well-designed and executed services that meet the needs of the consumers.

The survey revealed that North Karelian old-age pensioners travel because they want to experience new things (80,2 %), escape from routines (78,7 %) and improve their quality of life (75,8 %). The attributes that they find most appealing in a destination turned out to be nature (86,7 %), safety of the destination (80,8 %) and quality of services (74,3 %). Also good transportation connections, local culture, learning new things and historical attractions were important elements.

On the basis of these results, it can be concluded that North Karelia has plenty of experiences and services that could be suitable for seniors. Creating meaningful entities of them, preferably together with the target group and marketing them with electronic and printed brochures would be important. Deals and discounts that are aimed at senior travelers should not be forgotten, because they can lure active seniors to different destinations during low and off-season.

These results can be useful also for other European countries and regions that want to attract and market their tourism offer for Finnish seniors.

The data is based on the TOURage feedback survey for seniors and altogether 183 questionnaires were analyzed.