Making it easy for everyone to enjoy tourism experiences regardless of their physical limitations, disabilities or age is one of the aspects of the social pillar of responsible tourism.
Actually, we all know that our society is getting older: nowadays, more than 128 million people in the European Union are aged between 55 and 80 years, representing about 25% of the total population and the current demographic trends in the EU show that the proportion of senior citizens is bound to constantly increase up to a 30% in 2060. Nevertheless, the European wide senior tourism market remains limited and fragmented, senior tourists’ mobility is often problematic and very often the supply is scarcely designed when it comes to meeting the needs of the elderly.
The European Alliance for Responsible Tourism and Hospitality (EARTH) presented one of those during the World Congress of the International Social Tourism Organisation (Zagreb, 19 – 21 October).
The project, launched in 2016 and called SENINTER, plans to create a slow and sustainable tourism product targeted to the seniors travelling with their grandchildren during the low and medium season in Europe. Its aim is to implement a transnational and intergenerational model replicable and adaptable in the future to other contexts but also to satisfy the needs of senior tourists, who finally wish what everybody wishes: to socialise, to try new experiences, to satisfy cultural and gastronomic curiosity. In this framework, the project gives two generations the opportunity of confronting and having experiences through the storytelling, images, tastes and sounds belonging to a different culture.
Now, after one year spent in the preparation, it is time to move forward with the pilot experience!
The pilot travel will be from 26 th to 31 st of March when a group from Ljubljana, composed by 39 travellers among seniors and children, will visit the area of Rimini, in Italian Region of Emilia Romagna. The children involved are preferably less than 6 years old, the seniors are preferably retired in order to travel out of the high tourism season which means that they are 55 years old and more.
The experience will be focused on three different fields of activities:
- Tangible heritage: the group will visit the towns nearby Rimini discovering the monuments, the Natural Parc of Cervia and the traditional activities like the International Museum of Ceramic in Faenza.
- Meeting the local community: the group will meet the local community in three different Social Centres for elderly people. With the help of an interpreter, the Slovenian and Italian grandparents will share many experiences, such as sharing stories about their own childhood and their culture – a vital emotional involvement for both generations and positive relationship.
- Activities: part of the meeting with local community will be dedicated to different themes of the cultural identity. They will discover the local cuisine with its most iconic course, ”la piadina”, the typical dance of the region, “Il liscio” (“the shuffle”) and the rust print, a special print technique typical of this area.
Seninter is implemented by a transnational consortium gathering different organisations, namely: Diesis (Belgium), KOAN Consulting (Spain), Egocentro (Italy), Emilia Romagna Region (Italy), Associazione Italiana Turismo Responsabile (Italy), DT Slovenia, NEC -Notranjska ecological centre (Slovenia) and the European Network EARTH – European Alliance for Responsible Tourism and Hospitality.
If you want to know something more, check the complete dossier here, where you can find information about the Emilia Romagna Region.