Monday Briefing: Revived Delta Queen Could Capitalize on Boomer Travel Growth

(Photo by OJO Images/Getty Images) Photo by OJO Images/Getty Images

Today in the travel industry, nostalgia is on the menu. 

Our cruise editor Susan J. Young reports that new Congressional legislation could allow the historic Delta Queen river cruise ship to once again sail the Mississippi River. Although the #SavetheQueen campaign to restore the ship has been underway for several years, Delta Queen Steamboat Company (DQSC) President Cornell Martin told Travel Agent that a changing political climate and new Congressional makeup have prompted another try to secure an exemption from current maritime safety regulations that would be necessary for the ship to offer itineraries due to its wooden construction. 

The ship, which has been immortalized in at least seven songs from iconic American songwriters ranging from Johnny Cash to John Hartford, would be well positioned to appeal to Baby Boomers looking for a travel experience steeped in U.S. history. According to a new online poll by tour operator Exodus Travels, Americans over 50 could be set to drive continued growth in travel, with 80 percent of those surveyed reporting that travel is more important to them than ever before. 70 percent have budgeted travel into their retirement plans, and almost 90 percent said that there are still plenty of destinations left for them to experience. 

The poll backs up last year’s major study by Merrill Lynch that suggested that, as Baby Boomers retire, an increase in leisure time could drive an increased interest in travel. According to the Merrill Lynch report, 92 percent of retirees surveyed said that retirement provides greater freedom and flexibility to do what they want — regardless of how much money they have — and 95 percent say they would prefer to have more enjoyable experiences (like travel) than buy more things. Additionally, U.S. Census data estimated that the retirement leisure travel economy is about to diversify and multiply into an estimated $4.6 trillion over the next 20 years, partially on the strength of new time-rich retirees. 

In Case You Missed It…

Finally, if you’re following cruise news today, keep in mind that heavy fog in the port of Galveston, Texas, has forced Carnival Cruise Line to modify the itineraries of three ships: Carnival Freedom, Carnival Valor and Carnival Breeze. New itinerary and refund information is available here

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