Unlocking a World of Opportunities: Catering to Baby Boomers and Disabled Travelers in the Travel and Leisure Industry

accessible accessible transportation Oct 12, 2023


In the sprawling landscape of the travel and leisure sector, two demographics emerge with a promise of untapped potential - Baby Boomers and disabled travelers. With a combined annual spending of over $178 billion on leisure travel alone, these segments present a significant market opportunity waiting to be explored.

Values in $Billions

An Untapped Market Opportunity

Recent data underscores a promising growth trajectory in both markets. The Baby Boomer cohort, comprising individuals aged 60 and over, is expected to more than double globally from 841 million in 2013 to over 2 billion by 2050. Their penchant for luxury travel accounts for a whopping 80% of the market share, translating to over $120 billion in annual expenditure.

Growth Trends in Baby Boomer and Disabled Traveler Segments

On the flip side, the disabled travelers market is gaining traction rapidly. The economic impact of this demographic continues to burgeon, with adults dedicating $58.7 billion solely to travel. Industry segments across the board have witnessed an uptick in travel frequency and spending since 2015, with aviation leading the charge. The number of travelers with mobility disabilities is projected to nearly triple to 33.4 million by 2028, propelled in part by the aging Baby Boomer population.

A Glimpse into the Reality: The Queen Mary 2 Cruise Experience

Despite the promising data, my recent 14-day cruise on the Queen Mary 2, which is typical of our experiences across all the major cruise lines. unveiled areas where the travel infrastructure could be more accommodating. An estimated 85% of the passengers on board faced some form of mobility challenge, showcasing the demand for better accessibility features.

The Call for Enhanced Accessibility

The shared experience at our dining table in the Princess Grill further highlighted the need for improved accessibility. All six diners at our table faced mobility challenges, and some found certain accessibility features lacking in their Princess Grill staterooms, particularly when it came to safely accessing the tubs. These real-world examples underscore the broader need for the travel and leisure industry to enhance accessibility and cater to this burgeoning market.

Unlocking a World of Opportunities

The industry has a golden opportunity to go beyond the basic ADA standards and adopt a universal design approach. Simple yet impactful features like grab bars, comfort height toilets, and ample accessible seating can significantly enhance the travel experience for individuals using wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, canes, and other mobility aids. By embracing inclusivity, the industry can expand its customer base, align with a growing ethos of inclusivity, and unlock a world of opportunities for enriched travel experiences and economic growth.

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