Spring break in Bermuda -- for baby boomers? That's what the island's tourism board is proposing: A long weekend reunion for less than $600, plus airfare. It's part of a growing industry trend: targeting deep-pocketed, post 50 travelers seeking a retreat from the beaten path.
Bermuda's first-ever "College Week Reunion," runs March 15-18 and includes hotel stay and three-day special event passes. It’s a nod to Bermuda’s famed College Weeks of the 1960s and 1970s (see the nostalgic video below for some campy footage.)
"The College Week Reunion will be a great way for folks who may have visited Bermuda during the heyday of their youth to come back and enjoy the island as an adult," Wayne Furbert, Minister of Business Development and Tourism, stated in a press release. "We felt it was about time that adults get to experience their own grown-up Spring Break in a setting that fits their desires for a relaxing, sophisticated experience."
Doris Gallan, a travel blogger and author of "The Boomers' Guide to Going Abroad to Travel * Live * Give * Learn," said she sees a potentially hot market for boomer spring break reunions. But post 50s should be wary of deals that are marketed simultaneously to the current college crowd.
"Bermuda's idea of combining a week away with a college reunion and some reminiscing is a great idea," Gallan noted in an email. But what boomers don’t want is "actual college kids, loud and drunken parties, all-inclusive resorts that insulate them from the culture of the area (and) tours that shuttle them from one place to another without enough time to enjoy a site," she added.
Post 50s value a degree of luxury, security, cultural authenticity, activities that promote intellectual, emotional and physical engagement and value, Gallan suggested. That's the aim of tour companies such as Europe Lives, which focus on tailoring custom vacations for baby boomers. The Vernon Morning Star reports that Europe Lives, a new Vernon tour company, offers upscale lodging and independent tours particularly designed for post 50s who want to visit authentic locations and interact with locals without the hindrance of a cramped tour bus.
"Italy and France remain Americans' favorite destinations, so this company will do well," Gallan noted, adding she sees plenty of potential for growth outside Europe. "Many Boomers have already traveled a lot -- this generation is the most traveled yet -- and so those Boomers are more likely to go anywhere but Europe. They are the ones traveling to South America, Asia, Australia and Africa."
For boomers looking for an educational journey, there's the granddaddy of the business: Road Scholar, a not-for-profit leader in educational travel for adults since 1975, run by an organization called Elderhostel. It offers 6,500 tours across America and in 150 other countries.