Saga is seeing a “seismic shift” in older people seeking luxury holidays combining off-the-beaten track adventure.
New research reveals that over-50s are more likely to opt for destinations such as Uzbekistan or Kyrgyzstan, with the hope of a more unusual and adventurous holiday in 2019.
But a majority (84%) said political instability would put them off travelling, with 4% saying president Donald Trump’s leadership would deter them from wanting to go to the US.
Crime at 75% and human rights concerns at 55% were also likely to turn them off.
Exploring the Eurasian states, alongside Tallinn in Estonia and seeing the Northern Lights in Scandinavia, all feature within the top 10 experiences that over-50s want to have on their next holiday.
While the traditional package holiday destinations of Spain, Portugal and Greece still remain popular with many, more travellers are putting exploration and adventure above sun loungers and sangria.
Respondents to a separate survey of more than 12,600 over-50s commissioned by Saga and carried out by Populus reveals that weather, natural wonders, an abundance of historical sites, interesting culture and wildlife are the most important factors when choosing which country to visit.
Half of people say they have made lasting friendships while on holiday. Almost a third (31%) have kept in contact with people they have travelled with and 14% have kept in touch with local people they bonded with on holiday.
Saga Travel managing director Maria Whiteman said: “We are seeing a seismic shift in the number of people that want to combine luxury and relaxation with something just that little bit different when choosing where to go on their holiday.
“Whether that’s immersing themselves in the culture of a destination and it’s people or doing something a little more adventurous.
“Our customers are very particular about what they want and don’t want; great weather, interesting culture, history, wildlife, exciting journeys and the people they might meet are all critical.
“Whilst many places can deliver that sort of adventure, they often want to try somewhere they may not have had a chance to visit before, explaining perhaps why the number of bookings to places like Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan are soaring.
“They also leave their mark on the people they people they meet on holiday, often bonding over a shared passion, whether that is for adventure, dancing or wildlife.”
Explorer and adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, who became the first person to have climbed Everest and crossed both polar ice-caps in 2009 at the age of 65, said: “Escaping the office to lie by a pool surrounded by other Brits has never appealed to me.
“I can understand why young holidaymakers want to party or relax by a pool, but it is no surprise to me that – these days – my generation want more adventure from their holiday.
“We have time to explore and indulge the things we are passionate about, so adventure and new experiences are more important.”