Hitchings, Russell Stephen (1); Venn, Susan (1); Day, Rosie (2); Hibbert, Julia (2)
1: University College London, United Kingdom; 2: University of Birmingham, United Kingdom
This paper begins with how different social science traditions frame the topic of older person mobility and the tensions that exist between them. In particular we stage a dialogue between how travel on the part of older people is commonly understood by those in the fields of gerontology and tourist studies. Then we turn to the broader question of how expectations for post-retirement travel circulate within society at a time when older people are often taken to represent a growing area of travel demand. Where do ideas about where and why older people should be travelling come from, how are they received by older people themselves, and what does this all tell us about how change comes about? In seeking to answer these questions, we draw on findings from a UK study of leisure travel and the retirement transition. In this we spoke with leisure and travel service providers (n=10), those aged 50-55 and not yet retired, recent retirees aged 60-69, and a third group aged 75 and over (n=60). We reflect on how representatives of the travel industry and these three groups discuss the changing role of leisure travel in older lives and highlight the implications in terms of what societal ageing will mean for future mobility.