An important aspect of tourism, as it appears at the beginning of the new millennium, is the growing proportion of older people as clients. On one hand, this is due to the demographic trends of most industrial countries, where a steady increase in the number of people aged 65 or over is ongoing, though not in a uniform manner across all countries. This trend should continue in the forthcoming decades, due to the steady increase in life expectancy and the drop in fertility rates (according to projections, the total number of people aged 65 and over will increase from 17.1 in 2008 to 23.5 in 2030). The new tourism consumers feel that the travel experience cannot be separated from the enjoyment of foods laden with symbolic meanings, i.e. the expression of the unique identity of the hosting country, or from the healthy properties of such foods, about which he seeks the best documentation possible. This type of tourist frequently makes a choice between the various itineraries offered by the tourist market, aiming at exploiting gastronomic opportunities as much as possible. These may include in particular: (i) the "heritage of memory" that highlights the specific anthropological character inherent in food production; (ii) the opportunity to benefit from a wide range of traditional local foods fulfilling the need, not necessarily solely nostalgic, to recover the meanings of a pre-industrial past consideredmore authentic; (iii) the possibility to have access, during the tourist experience, to traditional gastronomy in a context of conviviality and solidarity within villages and small towns, or during festivals appropriately included in the tourist itineraries; (iv) the attractiveness of traditional localcuisine, deriving from its alleged effect on health, more or less supported by scientific evidence, and frequently revolving around the concepts of well-being and longevity; (v) the possibility, as part of the tourist experience, to take home actual "food souvenirs" (4) incorporating the recipes of popular products collected during the trip, and even attaining their reproduction at home. In this respect gastronomic or culinary tourism targeting the high longevity areas known as "Blue Zones" has become increasingly important. These regions were originally identified by researchers Michel Poulain and Gianni Pes as areas of the globe where people live demonstrably longer, healthier lives.
Health factors and diet: a tourist attraction for seniors / Pes, Giovanni Mario; Michel, Poulain. - (2015). (Intervento presentato al convegno Espacio Transfronterizo sobre el Envejecimiento tenutosi a Salamanca nel Settembre 2015).