After years of traveling to Europe, Baby Boomers are feeling the pull of Latin and South America, and the possible push of uncertainty on the European continent.
At a time when travel bookings and other surveys are showing travelers’ increased sensitivity to political strife and terrorism, AARP’s new 2017 Travel Trends survey indicates that only 34% of American Baby Boomers are expressing the wish to travel to Europe in 2017, down by almost a fourth from the 44% who expressed interest in 2016.
This year, out of the top five destinations for international Boomer travel, Mexico ranked first, followed by the Caribbean. England/UK/Ireland, generally seen as safe havens from the terrorism events on the European continent, ranked third on the AARP survey, followed by Central and South America. Italy ranked fourth.
GenXers also are moving the European continent off their wish list, 34% this year versus 46% last year, AARP’s survey found.
Separately, in a new survey from travel insurance comparison site Squaremouth, France was the “slowest-growing top destination for American travelers in the past year,” according to the company’s insurance sales data, which was not broken out by age.
“This year marks the first time in the past five years that France has not been among our top five destinations,” said Squaremouth spokesperson Rachael Taft. “At the same time, the number of customers searching specifically for terrorism coverage for their trip to France has nearly tripled.”
France is now the sixth most popular destination, displaced from the top five by Canada and the United Kingdom, Squaremouth reported. France bookings for the 12 months ended Oct. 31 grew at 4.4%, while Canada’s growth was nearly 10 times that—testimony to Canada’s growing popularity as a safe and affordable travel destination.
No surprises amongst domestic travel destinations
In the AARP study, Florida, California and Las Vegas ranked as the most popular domestic locations being considered by Baby Boomers. AARP said 99% of Americans age 50 and older travel for leisure purposes and spend roughly $125 billion a year.
AARP’s 15-minute online survey was conducted Sept. 15-24, 2016, among males and females 18 and older who had taken at least one trip 50 miles or more from home, with a two-night stay, in the past two years.
The good news for travel agents is that 85% haven’t yet booked their trips for 2017.
Squaremouth’s data is based on American customers insured on travel insurance policies purchased through Squaremouth prior to 10/31/16.