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Ferreira, C.; Alcântara, A. (2014). Tourism and risk perception and management among senior travellers: shaping travel patterns and behaviours. in Proceedings of the ATLAS annual conference 2014 "Tourism, Travel and Leisure: Sources of Wellbeing, Happiness and Quality of Life", Budapest, Hungary, 22-24 October, 2014 - Extended Abstracts, pp. 14-17. ISBN: 978-90-75775-70-9

ATLAS annual conference 2014
Tourism, Travel and Leisure
Sources of Wellbeing, Happiness and
Quality of Life
Budapest, Hungary
22-24 October, 2014
Extended abstracts
ATLAS annual conference 2014
Tourism, Travel and Leisure
Sources of Wellbeing, Happiness and Quality of Life
Budapest, Hungary
22-24 October, 2014
Extended abstracts
ISBN: 978-90-75775-70-9
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The growth of travel and tourism and the ageing of populations are two megatrends shaping
the face of contemporary societies. While tourism flows are increasing rapidly and
consistently over the last and coming decades (WTO, 2001), thus becoming a major
economic sector and a global phenomenon (WTTC, 2013), ageing is also becoming a pivotal
challenge that need to be addressed in an innovative and multi-dimensional approach.
In fact, there has been an investment in tourism from an increasing number of destinations
worldwide and tourism became a key driver responsible for socio-economic progress, jobs
and enterprises creation and infrastructure development. This true meaning of its multiplier
effect shows that tourism cuts across services such as accommodation, gastronomy,
transport, cultural and recreational facilities, retail, construction and other services sectors
(Eurostat, 2013a).
Due to this large and fast-growing economic sector, in 2013, international tourist arrivals
have grown from 25 million in 1950 to 1087 million and Europe raised 563 million
international tourists (UNWTO, 2014). Besides that, many new destinations have emerged
as competitors to European and North American destinations.
In what concerns to population, it has been changing and its structure is gaining importance
in the political, economic, social and cultural context of demographic behaviour (Eurostat,
2013b) due to its growth and ageing.
Recent studies from Eurostat (2013a) believe that in 2050 there will be about 2,000 million
people over 60 years, thus representing more than 20% of the world population, since people
are living longer and life expectancy continues to increase, despite fertility is increasing
Some investigation about the profile of people aged 65 or over highlight both purchasing
power and leisure time, which represents a significant market potential to accomplish
(Eurostat, 2012) and this segment has been established as a priority in policy lines of action
of many countries (Alén et al., 2012). There is clear evidence that the trend towards an
increasing demand for leisure and tourism activities of the elderly population will be, as it is
nowadays, a growing phenomenon in European countries (Ferreira, 1998), and population
ageing is likely to affect the future choice of tourism activities and destinations (Sedgley et al,
2011; Glover & Prideaux, 2009).
The profile of senior tourists is also evolving, as more informed, independent, and active
cohorts reach the upper part of the age pyramids. Besides, having more experience in
tourism makes them more demanding consumers and quite different from the previous
generation (Carvão, 2009).
In the past few years there have been major changes in mentality, habits and society values
which allowed people to shape the world to its own reality and dimension.
As stated before, tourism is a very important industry with huge impact in the economy of the
countries and this position is highly connected with the safety that each country can assure
to its visitors. Safety is one of the main concerns in the hierarchy of needs (Maslow, 1943),
also when choosing a holiday destination, so it requires deep thoughts about criminality and
the risk of natural, technological and human behavior disasters (Neves, 2010). Accidents
should be taken in account for further studies, because they are a leading cause of injury,
mortality and morbidity among tourists travelling to foreign destinations (Page & Meyer,
1996). Manning (2005) highlights that tourist, during his decision-making process, decide
based on partial information or on assumptions and images.
While travel associated risks are always present though different in their nature and
magnitude in all touristic activities, risk in travel and tourism is an emerging research topic.
However, few studies (Terho, 2013; Le Serre et al, 2013) approach the specifics of the senior
travel market.
Korstanje (2013) compiled a few studies that evidence that people develop different risk
levels while travelling to certain destinations instead of others. These differences depend on
gender (women are more sensitive to risk than men), age, family structure (since family ties
strengthen confidence, people that travel to visit family and relatives consider these
destinations as less dangerous comparing to other tourists), the existence of language,
cultural and/or sanitary gaps and the distance from danger.
According to AICST (2006), the World Tourism Organization identified in 2003 four sources
of risks to the safety and security of visitors, host communities and tourism employees: the
human and institutional environment, tourism and related sectors, individual travelers, and
physical and environmental risks (Table 1).
Table 1: sources of risks to the safety and security of visitors, host communities
and tourism employees
Human and
These risks exist when visitors fall victim to:
common delinquency;
indiscriminate and targeted violence and harassment;
organized crime;
terrorism and unlawful interference, hijacking and hostage
wars, social conflicts and political and religious unrest; and
a lack of public and institutional protection services.
Tourism and
They can endanger visitors' personal security, physical integrity
and economic interests through:
poor safety standards in tourism establishments;
poor sanitation and disrespect for environmental sustainability;
the absence of protection against unlawful interference, crime
and delinquency at tourism facilities;
fraud in commercial transactions;
non-compliance with contracts; and
industrial disputes by staff.
They can endanger their own safety and security, and those of
their hosts by:
practicing dangerous sports and leisure activities, dangerous
driving, and consuming unsafe food and drink;
travelling when in poor health, which deteriorates during the
causing conflict and friction with local residents through
inadequate behavior towards the local communities or by breaking
local laws;
carrying out illicit or criminal activities;
visiting dangerous areas; and
losing personal effects, documents, money, etc, through
Physical and
They can occur if travelers:
are unaware of the natural characteristics of the destination, in
particular its flora and fauna;
have not undertaken adequate medical preparations for the trip;
do not take the necessary precautions when consuming food or
drink or in their personal hygiene; and
are exposed to dangerous situations arising from the physical
Source: AICST (2006).
The way risks are perceived and dealt with before and during travel is a major determinant of
the tourist experience (Cater, 2006), thus shaping the overall assessment of tourism
practices. That is the reason why tourism is a very risk-averse activity since it can change
rapidly due to real or perceived risk (Manning, 2005). Besides that, stability is a key factor for
tourism development because any constraint may cause negative impacts in demand, and
tour operators should sell package tours to other (real and/or perceived) safer destinations.
New insights are, therefore, needed on risk perception and risk management among senior
tourists, as it impacts upon the quality, satisfaction and wellbeing associated with their travel.
The main purpose of this exploratory work is to set the framework and bring forward some
key components of risks associated with travel by the seniors, namely perceptions,
influences on the decision-making process (e.g. planning, patterns,…) and the implications
on the expected wellbeing as an outcome of the tourist experience.
The research begins with a theoretical reflection, of conceptualisation and analysis of the key
issues framing the theme under study: tourism trends; characteristics of the senior tourism
market; risk perception and management in travel and tourism.
The second part of the research is empirical and intends to monitor, through the application
of a survey of nearly 100 senior tourists who recently conducted international travel, their
perception of the risks associated with such travel, how those risks have been taken into
account in planning the trip (e.g. destinations, travel patterns, activities), and how it impacted
on the satisfaction and wellbeing obtained from that trip.
Expected research results will provide some insights, drawn from a sample of senior tourists,
about the impact of tourism practices in the wellbeing of the elderly and the influence of risk
factors before, during and after travel.
Alén, E., Domínguez, T. & Losada, N. (2012). New Opportunities for the Tourism Market: Senior
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APEC International Centre for Sustainable Tourism (2006). Tourism Risk Management. An
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Carvão, S. (2009). Tendências do turismo internacional. Exedra, N.º temático Turismo e Património,
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EUROSTAT (2012). Europeans aged 65+ spent a third more on tourism in 2011 compared with 2006.
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Glover, P. & Prideaux, B. (2009). Implications of population ageing for the development of tourism
products and destinations. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 15(1), 25-37.
Korstanje, M. E. (2013). Nuevas alternativas para estudiar los riesgos turísticos. Revista Turismo
Visão e Ação Eletrônica, 15(2), 166179.
Le Serre, D., Legohérel, P. & Weber, K. (2013). Seniors’ Motivations and Perceived Risks: A Cross-
Cultural Study. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 25(2), 61-79.
Manning, T. (2005). Sustainable Development, Risk Management and Indicators for Tourism
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Maslow, A. H. (1943). A theory of human motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), 370-396.
Neves, D. (2010). Turismo e Riscos na Ilha da Madeira. Avaliação, Percepção, Estratégias de
Planeamento e Prevenção. Master Dissertation. Coimbra: Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de
Page, S. J., & Meyer, D. (1996). Tourist accidents an exploratory analysis. Annals of Tourism
Research, 23(3), 666690.
Sedgley, D., Pritchard, A. & Morgan, N. (2011). Tourism and Ageing. A transformative research
agenda. Annals of Tourism Research, 38 (2), 422436.
Terho, H. (2013). Senior peoples’ perception of travel related risks – A viewpoint to the future travel
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Full-text available
This paper provides a reflexive marking of tourism and ageing research, arguing for a transformation of its research approaches. It observes that extant research on tourism in later life is largely quantitative and concerned with developing market-oriented typologies. Here we argue the case for humanist, participatory approaches to the study of older people that adopt the principles of critical gerontology and hopeful tourism. We discuss biographical research to illustrate how such enquiry could engage older people, foreground their voices and agendas and impact on their lives. We conclude with a four part agenda for tourism and ageing research.
This research reports on the findings of a comparative study of senior consumers from a major European (French) market and a key Asian (Chinese) one. The study concentrates on the tourism market regarding the growth and importance of this industry both for European and Asian markets. Travel motivations and perceived risks were of particular interest to understand consumer behavior, with scales being tested and utilizing survey data collected from 300 French and 264 Chinese seniors. The study reveals that two reliable Western scales could be adapted to the Chinese and to the French cultures. Second, it shows significant differences between Chinese and French senior consumers in terms of motivations and risks perceptions. Particularly, Chinese seniors are described by a past-oriented motivation, linked to nostalgia, and patriotism, which differentiates them from the Western seniors. This article provides a contribution regarding a major issue in comparative and cross-cultural studies: the use of a unique and culturally adapted scale. Two scales have been tested and showed to be suitable for marketing studies in four cultures. Second, this study provides interesting information on a European and an Asian senior market. Knowing that the current aging of the global population presents an exciting opportunity for growth for several industries, these results are of particular interest for international marketers.
Resumo As perspectivas de futuro do turismo mundial, incluindo a sua contribuição para o desenvolvimento económico e social, são cada vez mais importantes. Existe um volume significativo de procura estimulada pelo aumento do rendimento disponível, das motivações para viajar, do crescimento exponencial dos mercados emergentes acompanhado pelo crescimento continuado dos mercados tradicionais, das mudanças demográficas, sociais e tecnológicas, da diversificação de destinos e da crescente liberalização do sector. O turismo internacional moveu em 2007 quase 900 milhões de turistas (733 mil milhões de dólares de receitas em 2006). As previsões a longo prazo publicadas pela Organização Mundial de Turismo (OMT) indicam que o número de turistas internacionais será de 1.6 mil milhões em 2020, o que implica uma taxa de crescimento anual da ordem dos 4%. A previsão indica que os destinos de África, Ásia e Médio Oriente crescerão a taxas superiores à média, enquanto que as previsões para os destinos mais maduros da Europa e da América são de crescimento menor que a média. Palavras-chave Turismo internacional, Chegadas de turistas internacionais, Receitas por turismo internacional, Tendências de turismo, Previsões de turismo Abstract The future prospects for international tourism, including its contribution to economic and social development, are becoming increasingly important. There is a significant volume of demand stimulated by increasing disposable income, change in travel motivations, the exponential growth of emerging markets accompanied by continued growth in traditional markets, demographic, social and technological changes, the diversification of destinations and the increasing liberalization of the sector. In 2007 there were 900 million international tourist arrivals (733 billion US dollars in international tourism receipts in 2006). The long-term forecast published by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) indicates that the number of international tourists will be 1.6 billion by 2020, implying an annual growth rate of around 4%. The forecast indicates that Africa, Asia and the Middle East will grow faster and above the average, while the more mature destinations in Europe and America will grow below the world average.
Health issues associated with international tourism are now attracting interest from diverse researchers as they examine the interconnections between health and tourism. Despite this new popularity, no mainstream tourism journal has published any substantial research study-on this topic to date. This article examines one area of tourist health hitherto neglected in studies of travel medicine: tourist accidents. The paper commences with a review of the existing literature on tourist accidents and examines the situation in New Zealand using a number of unique data sources generated by the Accident Compensation Corporation and the Land Transport Safety Authority. Trends in international tourist accidents are discussed and the implications for their prevention are examined.RésuméLes accidents des touristes: une analyse exploratoire. Des questions de santé associées au tourisme international attirent l'intérêt des chercheurs qui examinent les liens entre la santé et le tourisme. Mais aucun grand journal de tourisme n'a encore fait paraître d'étude importante à ce sujet. Le présent article examine un thème qui a été négligé jusqu'à présent: les accidents des touristes. On commence par une revue de la littérature sur les accidents des touristes, puis on examine la situation en Nouvelle-Zélande en utilisant de nombreuses sources de données uniques, générées par la Société de la Compensation des Accidents et le Bureau de la Sécurité des Transports Terriens. On discute les tendances des accidents des touristes internationaux et les implications pour la prévention des accidents.
Adventure tourism is a rapidly expanding tourism market segment. It is suggested that adventure travel and its related expenditure contribute $220 billion annually to the US economy alone ( However, recent high-profile tragedies in adventure tourism might suggest that participation does not come without its risks. Existing literature would suggest that the pursuit of these risks is a central attraction of these activities. However, drawing on research conducted in the self-styled ‘Adventure Capital of the World’, Queenstown in New Zealand, the author suggests that this is a simplistic view of adventurous motivation. The research shows that rather than demanding actual risks, participants engaging in commercial adventurous activity primarily seek fear and thrills. The most successful adventure tourism operators are those that have reduced their actual risk levels whilst effectively commodifying the thrills within. Thus the responsibility of the commercial operator to minimise the opportunity for loss to as low a level as possible is not only an ethical one, but also ensures long-term business sustainability.
Population ageing has been identified as a critical element of demographic change which is a key driver for future consumer demand. Driven by the size of the baby boomer generation, population ageing is likely to affect the future choice of tourism activities and destinations. As the baby boomers retire, their demand patterns and preferences will grow in significance and will strongly influence the future structure of tourism product development. Two case studies are used to demonstrate possible impacts of population ageing on tourism demand and the potential implications for product and destination development. The paper discusses the need to consider demand preferences that are influenced by generational membership and identifies the conditions that may lead to the emergence of a product gap if the changing patterns of demand are ignored.