Tourism Marketing: How Might Age Affect Or Constrain Travel Behaviour
Travelling behaviour is the study that involves what people do over space, and how they use transport. This study encompasses the number of trips people make, their destinations, the mode they use, who accompanies them, the trips schedule, pattern of the trips, route choices made, and the reason why they travel. The knowledge about the factors that influence people’s travel behaviour is essential in this study.
Travel behaviour is affected by the type of groups that make travelling, which can be urban form or those affected by lifestyle and demographic influences. The common socio demographic factors that may affect travel behaviour include age, household composition, income, gender, and car ownership.
Modelling travel demand behaviour is a challenge for many researchers. There is need to understand the historical evolution of travelling patterns, and how these patterns respond to changes in circumstances and economic variables, for a better prediction of future travel demand, while at the same time assessing the policy frameworks. Different households’ posses’ different travel patterns which change over the life cycle, from one generation to the next and different spatial and socio economic characteristics,. The science of transportation has evolved in a big way from the time transportation began, to call for scientific inquiry in the forms of theoretical and empirical determinations of behaviours in travelling. Modelling travel demand defines motive for travelling, as the activities at the destination and their relationship with the activities which are performed while travelling. People enjoy travelling for different reasons such as a sense of speed, motion, control, and enjoyment of panorama (Rosenbloom, 2001).
Age have astounding effects on travel behaviour, it can be hypothesized that age of a person affects the individuals perception, habits, and expectations about transportation. Different age groups forms cohorts, travelling behaviour of one cohort will be different from the other as they age. Therefore, as a paradigm of cohort, age and time effects influences the effects of motorization and aging on travel behavioural patterns.
A person’s age is a strong determinant on their travelling behaviours, and adults living in age restricted communities make different travel choices, age restricted developments alters the rate of auto use, settings and local amenities changes pedestrian activities, age restricted adult society offers meaningful learning opportunities that can be adapted to induce certain travel behaviours in non age restricted developments.
The impact of age on travelling behaviour is ambiguous and calls for empirical evidence. Suggestions of car ownership are lower in youths and the elderly. The elderly tends to walk more often and use public transport more, and if they use a car, they tend to travel shorter distances. The travelling could be motivated by socializing opportunities, especially for non work trips . It is a fact that mobility patterns and the patterns of the activities of the elderly could be determined by older people’s access to different transportation means, travel habits of the elderly are confronted by difficulty in accessing means of transportation, and the extend of these influences affect the social situation of the elderly.
There is not much description available for the elderly travel attributes and behaviours, especially activity engagement. The socio-demographic variables still influence how the elderly people travel, the most prominent being lifestyle groups such as workers, mobile widows, granny flats, mobility impaired, affluent males, and disabled drivers. Other factors that might influence elderly travel behaviour are: the role of transport in the economy and everyday life situations, importance of environmental issues, social inclusion, safety, congestion, price, and quality of operations. The modes of different travel options are also to be considered such as overseas experience, ground, air, and sea transport. More factors could be defined as urban and rural differences, and the theory and rehearsal of formal modelling. This specific market segment of elderly people is riddled with many complexities, age’s effect on the expected pattern being a peak during active years, a small decrease towards retirement, a small decrease after retirement, and a small decrease after retirement, then a steady decrease.
Most metropolitan areas have experienced rapid suburbanisation of old people, and the ability to engage in routine activity is an important condition for the maintenance of independent life styles and psychological well being of the elderly suburbanites. The numbers of elderly people have been on the increase in developed countries, and many governments have realized the challenges this trend is posing for the economy, health care, and retirement systems. The impact of aging on travelling behaviour is a recent discovery. Policy makers must face the challenge in the transportation policies; impending retirement of the highly active generation could have tremendous effects on the transportation demands of the older people. The elderly will constitute a larger share of society, which may lead to more active lifestyles with more car trips.
The effects of socio demographic constraints in the travel choice need an explanation for variations in travel preference, intention, and choice behaviour to various destinations. The aging population provides a lucrative market for leisure and tourism, and the elderly people are considered to be sixty years and over. Some of the constraints are brought about by lack of suitable consumer research, and the factors that contribute to constrain older people can be identified as lack of resources, and lack of social networks that promote travelling. Other constraints can be cited as insufficient money, poor health, lack of companion to travel, not wanting to drive in the night, low energy, disability, and perceptions that they are very old to travel. Other travel barriers individuals’ capabilities, lack of time, and inadequate number of travel suppliers. In some cases families discourage travel for old people, and an apparent guilt within the old people of travelling in their twilight years.
Leisure constraints may give a conceptual framework on the reasons why older people do not engage in certain tourism activities. The leisure constraints can be categorized as intrapersonal, interpersonal, and structural constraints. Though, participating in leisure activities is deemed as overcoming these constraints. The individual’s psychological status and characteristics can be described as intrapersonal constraints such as stress, anxiety, attitudes, and self skill. That is, when they fail to develop leisure preferences due to misconceptions of personality, needs, prior socialization, personal abilities, and perceptions associated with group values and norms. The interpersonal limitations come from social associations with friends, family, and other people. While the structural limitations are those factors that prevent people’s intentions from taking actions like economic resources, availability of time, and accessibility. Jackson (1993) identified six dimensions of leisure limitations as social isolation, accessibility, personal reasons, costs, time commitments, and facilities. Vehicle design, long access, poor facilities, and waiting time are other examples of mobility constraints for the elderly. Various needs of elderly people needs to be considered such as difficulties in driving, such as at turns and intersections, insufficient caution and poor positioning of the road, making abrupt stops, failure to stop when needed, and lack of caution at traffic signals.
Seniors travel mainly for purposes of pleasure and rest, and the motivations are varied depending on the elderly backgrounds such as travelling for reasons of nostalgia, cultural experiences, sightseeing, and meeting old pals. The impact of travel on life satisfaction cannot be gain said for the seniors, as leisure has profound effects on their satisfaction with life. Travel is considered as an enriching experience with benefits such as routine changes, opportunity to garner new experience. Travel motivations to make tourists travel and select destinations are energizers to demand that promote a person to decide to take a holiday. Ryan (1991) identified tourists travel motivations as wish fulfilment, shopping, rest and relaxation, opportunity to play, social interaction, escaping unfriendly environment, prestige, strengthening family bonds, and educational opportunities. The table below gives the factor analysis of travel motivations of
Some of the recommendations to accommodate elderly driving are measures to accommodate older driver visual, mental, and physical declines. More bigger and brighter traffic signs should be installed, brighter pavement markings, overhead placement of signage, advanced warnings of hot spot locations, and increased road lighting. Mental declines can be accommodated by redundant signing, advance preview distance at intersections, reduction on amount of information to be processed and increased perception reaction time in design and operations. Physical declines can be accommodated by enlarging turn radii, parallel entrance ramp, and lengthening acceleration lanes.
The changes in travelling behaviour occurs frequently, new opportunities like park and ride increases in road capacities, reduction in public transport fares, motoring costs, provision of soft measures such as travel plans and information. More consumer research should be conducted with the aim of negating reasons for not travelling and providing necessary information that can encourage travel. Provision of equipments and other amenities to promote leisure activities among the elderly such as social networks. Advocacy campaigns to remove any negative perceptions that the elderly persons may harbour. The elderly shows a bigger tolerance for bus and walking, therefore, implementation of new modes of transit will be able to solve problems associated with quality checking of the services thy face.
A great understanding of the prospects of increasing other means of transportation apart from private car use will contribute a great deal towards changing travel behaviours amongst the elderly. Transportation plans and strategies should be focused on end result, and not the processes by which the end result is obtained. Methods of travel choices analysis should continually be conducted to give different alternatives to choose from. Behaviour is complex and changes over time.
Travel behaviour change is influenced by demographic factors, even the nature of influence changes, and behaviour change may take a long time time, as two or more factors interact with each other. This feature is referred to as asymmetry or hysteresis, as much as change is universal; it is particularly very difficult to reverse a process that is already in motion or to accelerate it. The communities should be relevantly informed about community design and development approaches that will enable the current and tomorrow’s communities to meet the travel requirements of older people. This should include active living possibilities and health benefits. The broader community should focus on congestion, safety, and private vehicle use reduction. Land use policies and other fiscal matters should be studied to know the extent and scope of affecting travel motivations. These are emerging policies in travel behaviours; they have very positive influence in terms of cutting traffic levels. These are workplace and school travel plans, personalised travel, public transport information and marketing, should be implemented by authorities to help streamline transport policy.
In Western countries, travel has generally increased for all age groups, with the elderly recording the highest growth. Within Europe, the elderly are fully motorized with lifetime experience in driving. Older men compete equally with younger men for those who hold driving licenses, though women are lagging behind. Still mobility levels of the elderly are lower compared to younger people. Elderly Germans have small or temporary handicaps that lower trip frequency, and out of home activities. Future predictions on travelling behaviour will take many variables into consideration. Research shows that travel behaviour is developed early in age which leads to cohort in particular behaviour, thus today’s generation; it is expected societal macro changes will allow predictions to be made on the mobility behaviour. The elderly tends to be a very heterogeneous age group , for instance in Europe women, people with no driving license, rural residents, the very old, and people with meagre academic qualifications make lesser trips than the elderly with driver’s license and urbanites (Kristian & Boksberger, 2007).
USA urbanites use cars rarely, and walk or ride more. Comparing USA and German elderly car use, no explanatory variables can be used to describe car use in both countries. Transport policy discrepancies provide travel options, determines cost of travel, which may be used to explain differences in car use. The elderly in America made only eight percent of their trips by other modes of transportation other than cars as compared to Germany’s thirty eight percent. The wealthiest German seniors used cars for only fifty nine percent of trips in comparison to eighty eight percent of America’s poorest. The difference in the sexes is much wider in America than Germany. Land use in Germany is much denser with settlements taking a higher mix than USA people. Therefore, spatial development patterns, local accessibility, trip distance, and access to transit services may give a cue to the differences in car travel. Car use in the US is much cheaper than Germany and more convenient since prioritization of funding for highways is given greater prominence. Germany has better measures that make transit vehicles more accessible for the elderly and the disabled, and coordination of transit with various modes allows the elderly to plan a trip from door to door. Germany also provides clean, safe, protected waiting lounges, low transit vehicles with appropriate priority for the elderly. In terms of costs, many German transit agencies offers discounts for the aged, plus easy to read, accessible, electronic real time information at stations for buses and trains that makes the navigating system elderly friendly (Brueckener, 2005).
|Table 3.1: Change of holiday travel propensity 1972 / 2003|
|Holiday travel propensity||Change|
|<29 years||57||80||+ 40%|
|Figures for German population aged 14 years or older; in % of age groups|
Data source: F.U.R, Reiseanalyse RA 1972-2004
The Taiwanese elders motive for mobility is novelty seeking, both positive and negative affective states, and that only positive affects is associated to future travel intensions. The motives for travelling in Switzerland are to enjoy scenery and nature, seeking rest and relaxation, and having time for family, partner, and oneself as the most important in mobility. Stress free and comfortable utilization of transport systems is more important than just mere cost and time efficiencies. The elderly population put high demands on safety and quality in the mobility chain of accessibility and friendly to the disabled. The Swiss believe in human powered mobility, with the elderly covering higher proportion of their stages on foot. This contributes immensely to independence, health, and social integration of the elderly (Che, 1993).
The comparative mobility motivation analysis of the elderly in Switzerland
Majority of Koreans elderly do not travel alot because of poor health, though, they see travelling as a means to stay healthy. Most of them can afford to spend money on travelling, at the same time they believe there are more important things to be done other than travelling. They posses a stereotype that may limit their travel behaviour, since most of them think that they should stay at home or in a silver town. Their family and friends must approve if they want to travel, as much as they feel guilty about travelling. They also believe that they can arrange travel by themselves, and are confident to make arrangements without assistance. Their Confucianism culture significantly affects their notion towards work and non leisure activities. Travel and tour operators who encourage seniors to travel must promote the benefits of travel to their families and friends. Since the main motivation for travel among the Koreans is to experience natural attractions, tour operators combine their packages with services that have scenic wonders, natural attractions, and educational destinations.
The mobility of the elderly in the Netherlands is considered a necessary condition for independence, and is a condition for quality life. Economical problems arise from the fact that they have low labour participation of the elderly, thus this duty is fulfilled only if elders can take care of themselves.
The projected growth of elderly people is expected to continue rising, therefore, there is need to design specific marketing strategies to meet their needs. It is expected that there will be a very close association between the travel behaviour of today’s older people and those in the future generations. Tourist demand and travel behaviour is determined by generation and not age. Considering the life cycle, travel behaviour of one generation tends to be rigid because of variables like retirement. Travel propensity or tourist behaviour remains the same for about two decades for a particular generation. The actual travel behaviour of seniors including their expectations, motivations, and aspirations is easy to differ.
Despite policy and cultural differences in Western European countries, Australia, and North America; older people will have active lifestyles in which travel behaviours and access to travelling options will play a key role in that majority of older men and women will be car drivers.
Che, S. I. (1993). Change of Consumption Aspects and Lifestyle by Elevation of an Income Level. Seoul: Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Brueckener, J. (2005) Workings of the melting pot: Social networks and the evolution of population attributes, Journal of Regional Science, Vol. 47, No. 2, 209–228.
Kristian J.& P. Boksberger, (2007) “Senior and non-senior traveller behaviour: some exploratory evidence from the holiday rental sector in Switzerland”, Tourism Review, Vol. 62 Iss: 3/4, pp.21 – 26
Rosenbloom, S, (2001). “Sustainability and auto mobility among the elderly: An International Assessment” Transportation, vol. 28, pp.
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