The Changing Age of Travel


New Zealand’s population is ageing. By 2031, it is estimated that 27.5 percent of the population will be between 65 and 69 years old. On top of that, elderly people are becoming more and more enticed by the prospects of travelling. Not everybody wants to retire in a rest home any more.

In 2003/2004, people aged 65 years or older held 21.5 percent of New Zealand’s total net worth and the group aged 55-64 held 22.8 percent.  Collectively, over 44 percent of New Zealand’s wealth is held by people 55 years or older. As these New Zealanders get older they will have more time on their hands with money to spend.

Now, Stats NZ has estimated one and a half million New Zealanders are between 40-64 years old and three-quarters of a million are older than 65.

So, these people have the money and enthusiasm to see more, so what’s stopping them from travelling? While a lot of elderly people have endless money and time to spend, it can be quite difficult for them to travel. They often need someone to help them get between places, and normally their family are the best people to help them. Families want to spend time with their elderly loved ones but are hesitant to visit rest homes. Travel is a chance for families to be together without going into the retirement homes at all.

Even then though, there are physical limitations holding them back. If elderly people require a mobility scooter or other mobility device, they’d normally be stopped in their tracks as electric devices with lithium batteries exceeding 160wh are prohibited on aircraft for security reasons.

Auckland Mobility Warehouse has a series of new products which will change how people travel. Its new folding Maleta scooter and UGO Scooters of Flyby E-chairs give travellers the chance to travel across the globe with their mobility scooter. Not only are they under the regulated amount of lithium making them flight-safe, the Maleta is also self-folding and lightweight, making it easily transportable. Since they are so compact and movable there’s also the opportunity for hotels to offer mobility scooters as a service.

There’s a growing market for hotels with older travellers. For hotels to make the most of this growing demographic they need to adapt and make sure they are ready to accommodate these people. This means being wheelchair ready, having lifts and wheelchairs on-site working around the clock and available to be used. It’s not just about meeting OSH wheelchair requirements, although that is an important factor to adhere to.

Hotels need to stay up-to-date with these technological evolutions because if they don’t they risk alienating a large – and constantly growing – customer base.

Mobility vehicle technology is evolving quickly, and AMW is leading the charge in New Zealand with a nationwide support network.

To learn more, give David at Auckland Mobility Warehouse a call on 09 827 6699 or visit

Credit: Hotel Magazine