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EU tourism for senior and young travellers

European Commission launches call for proposals help boost youth mobility

As part of its efforts to increase the competiveness of the EU´s tourism sector, the European Commission has launched a call for proposals that will help boost mobility of senior and young people in Europe. The main aim of this call is to strengthen competitiveness of the European tourism sector by encouraging the extension of the tourism season and by increasing internal mobility of seniors and young people. Proposals will target seniors or young people and will aim to design a a pilot test.

One in four Europeans are over the age 55 yet only 41% of them ever travel. Most rarely venture beyond the limits of their village or city. Those few who do travel tend to move within their own country with only a small proportion travelling abroad. But why do so few silver-haired tourists travel? For some it may be due to poor health whilst others may struggle financially. But in most cases senior travellers are simply off the radar of tourism business operators and destination managers and cannot find offers that would suit their needs and preferences.

The situation is quite different for the almost 100 million young people (15-29) who live in the EU. They cross national borders with ease, increasingly choosing to study, volunteer, work and travel across the continent. When they do travel young people tend to stay longer, steer clear of international chains and shop locally. They are far keener to go ‘off the beaten track’ and discover new destinations. And last but not least – as they grow older, they often return to places they enjoyed earlier in life.

Aware of the potential of these two market segments, the European Commission has launched a call for proposals to boost internal mobility of seniors and young people and extend the tourism season beyond the six crucial weeks in July-August.

The Committee of the Regions has highlighted the importance of tourism for all age groups in two of its influential opinions led by the ex-President of Murcia, José Ramón Varcarcel Siso (ES/EPP) and the President of the Azores, Vasco Alves Cordeiro (PT/PES). Tourism, they wrote, " promotes social inclusion with the possibility of mobility by ensuring cross-cultural exchanges for all social groups, including young people, families, senior citizens and people with reduced mobility ". The call for proposals reflects this position through its emphasis on intra-EU mobility.

In line with the Committee of the Regions´ call to " underpin the EU´s tourism strategy goals with adequate funding opportunities and involve EU institutions, Member States, regions and stakeholders ", local and regional authorities are among the eligible partners; indeed every consortium applying to get this grant must include at least one public authority (local, regional or national).

The deadline for electronic submission is 15 January 2015 17.00 hours (Brussels time). 

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