Greece opens its borders to “silver” tourists
With 37.76m euros from the Recovery Fund, the government plans to attract visitors over the age of 65, as well as people with disabilities, and promote the prescribing of visits to cultural sites for people with mental illness.
Greece can take advantage of a “golden” opportunity for the development of “silver” tourism, through the Recovery Fund. With 27.26 million euros, interventions will be planned in cultural spaces, which will facilitate the access of the elderly, but also people with disabilities. The main goal is to attract visitors over 65 with… full wallets and travel concerns. At the same time, another 10.5 million euros will promote the integration of art in health services and will support the prescribing of visits to cultural sites for mental illness. The initial phase of the two projects is estimated to be completed within the first quarter of 2025.
In general, in the first project of the design includes interventions in museums, theaters, festivals, archeological sites, monuments, etc. in order to modify the existing infrastructure to improve access, the development of special tour systems, the promotion of thematic tours and routes related to the interests of a specific audience, etc. At the same time, innovation and new technologies will be supported and staff will be trained for use at cultural spaces for the reception of the elderly in a welcoming environment.
In total, for this “package” of projects funds amounting to 27.26 million euros (excluding VAT) will be allocated to cultural institutions – following invitations from the Ministry of Culture – which are estimated to be supplemented with additional state funds, as well as private funds, both from private cultural institutions and from the wider tourism sector.
Significant economic benefits are expected from the investments as it is estimated that the income (from tickets, etc.) will increase, will create new jobs but also a financial “ecosystem” around the accessible, for the elderly and people with disabilities, cultural spaces. . The investments will be “run” by the Ministry of Culture, in cooperation with the Ministry of Tourism and are fully in line with the national plan for people with disabilities that is in progress.
The second project aims to introduce the prescription of culture for mental health problems or “social prescribing”. Monitoring or participating in cultural activities has been recognized as a means of both preventing and treating mental illness. People with depression, dementia, autism, prisoners, people struggling with addictions, etc. can benefit.
The investment is expected to strengthen the mechanisms of cooperation between social care and health structures and the cultural sector, support the integration of arts and humanities in the training of health professionals, encourage the organizers of artistic and cultural organizations to integrate health and prosperity as an integral part of their design. It will also ensure access for all to cultural events and public awareness.
With the 10.5 million euros (excluding VAT), research, training, prosperity, education and intervention programs will be developed by cultural and health institutions, while a public awareness campaign will be implemented. The funds will be allocated, after an invitation from the Ministry of Culture to cultural and health institutions and it is estimated that money will be saved as the use of medical services, pharmaceutical products will be limited and the number of lost working days will be reduced.
The “silver” tourist spends more
“Silver” tourism is undoubtedly an important part of the tourism industry. All the latest studies on the elderly show that older people are healthier today, spend more money, travel more often and stay longer in destinations far from their place of residence, compared to older people in the past. In fact, the percentage of travel in Europe for people 65+ years old is expected to increase from 15% in 2010 to 26% in 2030 and 32% in 2050, while in Greece about 25.2% of the population is over 60 years old.
According to a survey by “diANEOsis”, Greece is already a destination for senior tourism, mainly for tourists between 55 and 64 years old, as they constitute 22% of the total number of incoming tourists in our country. But at the age of over 65, the corresponding percentage approaches 7% and goes down. However, it is noteworthy that the elderly tourists who come from the traditional markets of Europe, have visited Greece repeatedly in the past.