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Assumptions about later-life travel and their implications: pushing people around?


Taking four assumptions in turn, this review article considers some of the lenses through which researchers might look at later-life leisure travel and the implications of adopting each of them. First, we consider the ‘active ageing’ agenda and what this means for how leisure travel may be thought about in academia and beyond. Second, we turn to studies underpinned by worries about the appetite for significant consumption thought to typify the ‘baby-boomer’ generation and question whether these studies could inadvertently be promoting the very future they hope to avoid. Third, we explore how research on the benefits of everyday ‘mobility’ in later life may have morphed into a more general belief about the value of travel in older age. Finally, we reflect on how relevant studies of tourism are often underpinned by an argument about the financial rewards that now await those ready to target the older traveller. Our overall contention is that, though for different reasons, all four could be serving to encourage more later-life travel. Whilst for some this prospect is not at all troubling, the spectre of adverse energy demand consequences leads us to explore a more critical view.

Corresponding author
Address for correspondence: Russell Hitchings, Department of Geography, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK E-mail:
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