As life expectancy increases, so does the number of dementia cases. Some of us have had a loved one who suffered from this disease and know that it can cause them difficulties when it comes to travel and leisure activities. But what if there were tourism spots specifically designed to be “dementia friendly”? Stephan J. Page, Anthea Innes, and Clare Cutler discuss both the benefits for those with dementia as well as the businesses offering these services in their article, “Developing-Dementia-Friendly Tourism Destinations: An Exploratory Analysis” from the Journal of Travel Research.
Dementia is emerging as a global issue. Increases in life expectancy create an older population structure with accompanying health needs but also high lifestyle expectations. For example existing generations have come to expect to be able to participate in leisure and tourism activities in later life, which can be constrained by the onset of dementia. Leading healthy lifestyles and engaging in tourism activities are viewed as fundamental to remaining active and contributing to slowing the progress of dementia. This study is the first to examine the challenges and implications of the growing scale of dementia and the business opportunities this may create for destinations wishing to achieve dementia friendly status. The paper reports results from an initial scoping study with tourism businesses in a coastal resort in the United Kingdom with such ambitions to assess the nature of the issues that arose from a series of face-to-face interviews.