Survey : New Zealand baby-boomers most vicarious travellers

On September 14, 2009 at 02:00 PM

A survey conducted recently by travel website reveals that New Zealanders in their fifties are significantly more open to exploring more off-the-beaten-track destinations and experiencing culture shock than their younger travelling compatriots.Interesting also, the survey reveals New Zealanders to be twice as open minded about travelling to places with religious differences than their Australian counterparts

The survey, conducted by independent research company Pureprofile on behalf of, operated by Expedia, Inc., the world’s leading online travel company, included responses of over 500 adult New Zealanders regarding their attitudes towards travelling to tried-and-tested destinations compared with those that are comparatively less touristy. The most popular off-the-beaten-track destinations to emerge include Eastern Europe, Africa, South America and China.

Whilst on average 62 per cent of New Zealanders still prefer to visit more conventional travel destinations, New Zealanders in the 55-59 year age bracket were revealed as the most vicarious travellers, with almost half (49 per cent) wanting to visit more far-flung places compared with less than a third (32 per cent) of Kiwis aged 30 years younger, who overwhelmingly prefer more conventional destinations.

It emerged that New Zealanders are also far more up to experiencing ‘culture shock’ than their Trans-Tasman counterparts. In fact the survey revealed that half as many New Zealanders are deterred from travelling to a lesser-known destination due to religious differences compared to Australians; just seven per cent identified this as a reason to avoid off-the-beaten-track places.

Overall, Eastern Europe was identified as the most popular off-the-beaten-track destination with 36 per cent of people wanting to visit; this was followed by South America (21 per cent); and Africa and China (14 per cent each). Antarctica and the Middle East emerged as the least popular destinations in this category (8 per cent and 7 per cent respectively).

The opportunity for a new and interesting travel experience was cited as the main inspiration for visiting a less conventional destination (46 per cent). Other reasons include: having the chance to closely experience the local community (32 per cent) and comparative affordability (11 per cent).

Marketing Manager of, Louise Crompton, says: “These survey findings fly in the face of conventional thought that Twenty-somethings are most radical and open minded to new and different experiences. The finding that New Zealanders of the baby-boomer generation are more up to veering off the well-beaten travel path is particularly interesting in that this is not necessarily an indication that they have already visited the more conventional tourist destinations, but rather an indication that people are more intrigued by lesser-known destinations as they get older.”’s Top Five ‘Off-the-beaten-track’ destinations:

Romania, Europe

From the medieval castles of Count Dracula’s Transylvania, to the magnificent architecture and rich culture of the capital, Bucharest, Romania is a country with much undiscovered to enjoy. It’s also home to some of Europe’s best kept secrets, including The Danube Delta and the great ice caves of the Apuseni Mountains, that remain widely unknown. There are also great ski fields, trails for both hiking and bike rides and countless cathedrals with intriguing histories scattered across the country. Be sure to absorb the rich atmosphere of the city of Sibiu, which was chosen as the European Capital of Culture in 2007.

Venezuela, South America

Whilst Venezuela boasts the longest stretch of Caribbean coastline, it is a country that is surprisingly under-visited by international travellers. Nevertheless, this South American nation offers tourists an exciting blend of rich cultural experiences, starting with the throbbing salsa clubs of Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, to the busy marketplaces and regular festivals held in the towns of the interior. For those with a thirst for adventure, Venezuela offers countless physical activities including hiking to the world’s highest waterfall, the Angel Falls, or snorkelling, scuba diving, windsurfing and paragliding, which all add to the excitement of a trip to a country that truly is a rare tropical beauty.

Tanzania, Africa

Rich in natural wealth and beauty, Tanzania boasts some of the world’s finest physical attributes such as the snow-capped summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, the golden beaches of Zanzibar, the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater and the lush plains and abundant wildlife of the Serengeti. Apart from its natural attractions, Tanzania also offers travellers a wealth of hidden gems to explore including deserted islands that house former slave caves and colonial graves, the decaying ruins of ancient Swahili city-states like Zanzibar and the rich culture of the islands of Mafia, which was once a famed port of call for ships from the East. With such a wide range of opportunities for adventure, Tanzania is the perfect recipe for the traveller who wants to stray far from the beaten track.

Estonia, Europe

Since the 13th century, Estonia has been occupied by Swedish, German and Russian forces, which have all left their indelible mark on the country. Due to this, tourists are able to observe a great range of structures throughout the country including Soviet architecture, impressive Orthodox palaces, great medieval castles, as well as the rich Swedish culture that has been imparted within the coastal communities of Estonia. For natural beauty, Estonia’s Lahemma National Park has a great deal to offer travellers to the country, whilst those after a rich cultural experience need look no further than the Old Believers found near Lake Peipsi in East Estonia, who follow an old form of Russian Orthodoxy and do not believe in the use of electricity, shaving, smoking or drinking coffee.

Paraguay, South America

Paraguayis a country full of vast and fascinating contrasts that are sure to intrigue all intrepid travellers. With hidden treasures like the tropical rainforest of Parque Nacional Cerro, as well as the vast wilderness of the Gran Chaco, there are plenty of natural features to discover and explore. In the capital city of Asunción, travellers can immerse themselves in the strong culture, fine cuisine and bustling night-life. For a more relaxed cultural experience, Paraguay also offers Encarnación, which is the heart of the Paraguayan Carnaval and the gateway to the nearby Jesuit ruins of Trinidad. Whilst Paraguayans are more accustomed to visitors from bordering countries than international tourists, the combination of physical beauty and rich and enjoyable culture means a visit to Paraguay is one that is unforgettable. 

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