Boomers and Relaxed-Fit Entertainment

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Reading about theme parks, destination development, and Universal Design today turned up an insightful article by Judith Rubin written in 2000.

The Relaxed-Fit Entertainment Venue: Attracting Middle-Aged Baby Boomers

As appeared in Entertainment Management January/February 2000

By Judith Rubin

When blue jeans manufacturers introduced relaxed-fit sizes, they cut through to the core of the baby boomer psyche: Boomers, now entering their middle years, want the same things that they grew up with; they want those things to accommodate the shifting and resettling of their bodies; and they want them without reference to age.

Another aspect of the boomer generation is the desire for intergenerational experiences, especially with the young. "This generation won�t accept separation," says Bensley. "They want to be part of their children�s lives, and as their children leave home and have families, they�re going to want to be part of their grandchildren�s lives as well." Creating experiences with all-ages appeal doesn�t leave any age group on the sidelines....

In fact, much of the world is graying. In the UK, the average age is now 38 and will shoot up to 50 by 2050. In Japan, which has the highest life expectancy and lowest fertility rates of any developed nation, senior citizens will represent 26 percent of the overall population by 2025. In the Americas overall, by 2025 at least one-fifth of the population in 15 countries will be age 60 and over.

How prepared is the out-of-home leisure industry to make the most of this? In 1998, during the Future of Themed Entertainment panel presented annually at IAAPA by the Themed Entertainment Association, Larry G. Wyatt, president of Warner Bros. International Recreations pointed out that the number of theme park visitors age 25 and over is declining, and that once adults reach 44, the likelihood that they�ll go to a theme park falls off dramatically. "Thrill rides are demanding the overwhelming majority of our capital but we're losing the older visitors," says Wyatt. "Mom simply isn�t that interested in four Gs in three seconds."


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