Older people in the UK now account for half of all holiday spending as they deem regular breaks to be 'essential', new research has revealed.Escorted tour operator Travelsphere has published the results of a survey which shows that around 50 per cent of all overseas trips last year were taken by over-45s, up from 47 per cent in 2006.However, pensioners were found to be the most prolific of all travellers aged 45 and over, with 28 per cent of over-65s taking two or more trips abroad a year compared to an average of just 19 per cent of all British holidaymakers.Retirees were also found to enjoy the most 'staycations', with a quarter of over-65s enjoying two annual breaks in the UK and a fifth taking three or more domestic trips.Furthermore, over-65s took more longer breaks than many of their younger counterparts, with 40 per cent of pensioners' trips abroad in 2010 14 nights or longer in length.Despite retirees' fondness for extended holidays, the study found that those aged between 55 and 64-years-old were the only age group to increase the number of long-haul flights they made between 2008 and 2010.These people approaching retirement were most likely to travel to the US, Canada, China and India - Travelsphere's most popular long-haul destinations.The results can partly be attributed to older people prioritising travel over other expenses, with two-thirds of over-55s deeming holidays to be essential compared with just 45 per cent of those under 45.Ian Smith, group chief executive of Travelsphere's parent company Page & Moy Travel Group, said: "Many of today's older travellers have time, money and the internet at their fingertips to entice and enable."The UK's older population is growing at the fastest rate, accounting for 17 per cent of our population today, but is expected to rise to 23 per cent by 2035, so older travellers will continue to dominate the tourism offering at home and abroad."The study was prepared in association with Mintel Research Consultancy.
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