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Europe Senior Tourism innovative program

Spain invests in senior travelers and Greece is leading

Javier Bustamante - President of Segittur
Javier Bustamante – President of Segittur

The Europe Senior Tourism innovative program has been the main point of focus for Segittur starting in 2009. During the previous financial year the Spanish central government along with the local governments of the participating regions, invested 5.2€ million in the Europe Senior Tourism program, profiting 1.32€ for every euro invested. The important amount of returns in investment led the aforementioned bodies to increase their current investments to 10€million for 2011.

Segittur is a Spanish public body which specializes in innovation and technology of the tourism sector and has undertaken the responsibility to finance the program, while the private interest firm Travel Senior focuses on its marketing throughout Europe, via business associates in European countries, which are chosen after successfully participating to the EU competition held for this purpose.

The, Javier Bustamante ,together with Mar Guerrero, representative of the government of the Balearic Islands and Antonio Marti, representative of the region of Andalucia, promoted and presented the second edition of the Europe Senior Tourism pilot program in front of the press yesterday in Athens.

In the first edition of the program, which took place between 2009 and 2010, Greece ranked first in the Senior tourist market, with a vast 35% of participants enjoying their winter holidays in the Balearic Islands and Andalucia, followed by Poland and Ireland which were the second and third largest senior tourist markets respectively. This year the program is running from 1st October to 30th April for Andalucia, the Balearics and the community of Valencia, while the Canary Islands will be added to the program for the period between 25th April and 30th June.

Following the guidelines of the Calypso Preparatory Action and in an effort to activate tourists from countries which do not travel much, participants are subsidized with a fixed amount. For their participation, European citizens are subsidized as follows: 150€ for citizens of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and 100 euros for citizens of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, France, Greece, Ireland, the Pays Bas, Portugal, Romania and Slovenia. It is critical to stress at this point that subsidies are offered to sole citizens and not organizations, as implied by the EU law.

Country

Tourists

Austria

520

Belgium

223

Bulgaria

1.534

Czech Republic

396

Denmark

1.200

France

217

Greece

15.254

The Netherlands

2.062

Hungury

33

Irland

5.485

Italy

5.431

Poland

6.892

Portugal

620

Roumania

3.973

Slovakia

112

Total

43.952

The goals of the innovative Europe Senior Tourism program, as part of the Calypso Preparatory Action, include the stimulation of the financial activity of the tourism industry during the low season, thus battling Europe’s seasonality problem. The program further contributes to the reduction of unemployment by creating 690 new jobs. Apart from the positive economic consequences however, the program clearly also has a cultural aspect, since it promotes the notion of a common European citizenship and aids the active aging of the population which has surpassed 55 years of age.

The President of Segittur, met with a variety of communications media to present the results of the first edition of the program and discuss developments made for its second edition.

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