Imserso is a social scheme offering big discounts on holidays to the elderly in Spain, a programme that aims to improve their quality of life and health, whilst also alleviating employment issues for the country’s tourism sector during low season.
Over-65s with a Spanish pension, as well as other people who fulfil certain criteria, can enjoy holidays in different locations across Spain for €115 (four days) to €405 (ten days), including accommodation, food and transport.
As could be expected, the scheme is very popular in Spain, so much so that Spanish tourism authorities have pitched it to the European Union in the hope that it can be exported across the continent.
“Today, seniors constitute 21 percent of the total population of the European Union and spend 5.6 percent of their income on tourism,” said Spain’s Secretary of State for Tourism Fernando Valdés during his presentation of the European Senior Tourism Programme in Dijon, France.
A European Imserso would reinforce the sense of belonging to the European Union among its seniors, Valdés added, as it would see pensioners travel outside of their country’s borders to another EU nation on a state-subsidised holiday.
Spain’s Secretary of State for Tourism also highlighted that the Imserso could help to address the matter of seasonality for tourism-dependant economies in Europe.
Spain’s Imserso is currently proving to be a lifeline for some popular destinations in the country as the pre-booked subsidised holiday packages by seniors have remained unaffected by the war in Ukraine.
“Europe should continue being the main tourism destination of the world,” Valdés argued as he called for the EU to mobilise community resources and allocate funds if “we want to provide our tourism sector with the tools to turn itself into a more sustainable, inclusive, digital and, therefore, resilient sector.”
Spanish Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto also stressed on March 23rd that a European senior tourism scheme would “be a reward for the elderly, who have suffered the most during the Covid-19 pandemic”.