SAGA Cruises UK issued its predictions for the new 2022 following in-depth research with ~3000 of its customers, which unearthed key highlights for the demographic and their travel plans.
The research showed that 64% have said that travel is important/very important to them in 2022 with 56% already having plans in place to travel during the first half of the year.
UK breaks are the most popular with 55% planning them, while European breaks are on the agenda for 32%, while long-haul is favoured by 24%.
Taking all necessary health precautions and having good insurance that covers the key financial, medical and safety needs remain the biggest drivers of confidence in travel at 89% and 67% effectively, but more emphasis has been put on fellow travellers’ behaviours like testing for travel and appropriate safety measures (up 7% since September 2021 to 58% from 51%).
64% are not planning to wait for things to return completely to normal before travelling. There has been a drop of 12% since September (from 61% to 49%) in people thinking covid tests are too expensive, perhaps as people get used to the ‘new normal’ and importance of testing.
Nearly 60% (59%) want to return to holidaying as they did before covid, with 58% looking for a relaxing holiday. And interestingly new experiences feature heavily in responses with more than half (52%) wanting to visit new destinations and a quarter wanting to meet new people (25%), trying a multi-destination holiday (25%) and exploring new cultures (24%).
Half (51%) want to take the chance to see a natural phenomenon such as the Northern Lights and the nature theme is followed through as nearly 80% of over-50s (79%) identify themselves as wildlife lovers with 67% putting whale-watching at the top of their must-see list, followed by big cats (52%), rare or unusual birds (49%), bears (48%) and turtles (45%).
In the over-50s market, 70% are likely to holiday with a partner, followed by 22% with family, 21% on their own, 15% with a friend or 12% with a group of friends.
Of those planning to travel with friends 41% want to do so to create great memories, 25% because life is precious and it’s important to see each other, 19% because they’ve missed seeing them (or being able to) and 6% to mark a special occasion. While of those travelling with partners, friends or on their own, it’s to celebrate a birthday (15%) or anniversary (9%).
And over-50s like a treat while they are on holiday, with 51% prepared to indulge in local delicacies or activities, 39% and 37% respectively would upgrade their flight or hotel, while nearly 30% (29% and 27% respectively) will go shopping or visit a spa. And nearly a quarter (22%) are prepared to splash out on a bottle or two of fizz.
Saga offers a full reassurance promise, including:
"The ability to change holiday plans and amend them at no additional cost before March 31, 2022.
Travel insurance on all overseas holidays with up to £5m cover for a variety of medical conditions, including coronavirus (the insurance is added as standard and guests have the option to opt out should that so choose).
Saga provide flexible cancellation cover should guests need to cancel due to a variety of medical conditions, including coronavirus.
All guests travelling on flight-inclusive holidays will be 100% financially protected, as the money is held in a separate Trust account."
Saga was the first cruise company to require all passengers to have both vaccines in advance of travel.