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Spain’s subsidised holidays for pensioners scheme to feature more destinations and high-speed trains instead of coaches | Sur in English

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Wednesday, 8 March 2023, 20:56

The countdown is on for the new season of Imserso trips, the Spanish government scheme that offers subsidised holidays for pensioners, which will start in October with several major new features.

The Institute for the Elderly and Social Services (Imserso) will increase the number of places available by 70,000 to reach 900,000. And for the 2023-24 season it will be possible to travel to all provinces in Spain, from the 18 currently available to 52.

In addition, ten new cultural circuits will be incorporated into the new programme along with 19 new nature routes.

Although 75 per cent of the destinations will be the traditional ones in the Levante area and the islands, there will be an increase of up to 25 per cent in experiential tourism (cultural and nature), which previously accounted for around 15 per cent of the total.

This new season will also include, on a pilot basis, some trips with specific themes such as literary, musical or theatre festival itineraries. There will also be an increase in the number of single-occupancy rooms, rising from 2 per cent to 10 per cent of the total.

Another important modification will focus on the category of the hotels chosen, their accessibility and meals, as well as the leisure options on offer. Transport comfort will also be improved, and users will be encouraged to travel more by AVE high -speed train rather than by coach for longer journeys.

The price will also vary, but the Ministry of Social Rights stresses that “in no case” will it be higher than the increase in pensions, and the fares will be “equally accessible and adjusted”. As the ministry points out, 78 per cent of the cost of the trip is covered by each beneficiary and 22 per cent by the state.

This year Imserso has a budget increase of up to 72 million euros allocated, which represents a 14 per cent increase over the previous contract.

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