Britain's silver travellers have defied the economic gloom, according to new research. Long haul travel in the 55-64 age category increased between 2008 and 2010 while the overall holiday market slumped by 9%. The over 65s are Britain's most prolific holidaymakers, with 28% of those going abroad doing so twice or more each year compared with 19% of all holidaymakers. The research was commissioned by holiday operator Travelsphere from Mintel. Surprisingly, it says the over 55s are more likely to book their whole trip on line than those under 45. Two thirds of them book via the internet. "What is clear from the research is that while current economic hardships have impacted harder on the holidaying habits of the under 45s, those over 45 still consider holidays essential. Two thirds of over 55s see holidays as necessary spend, compared to only half of 45-54 year olds and 45% of under 45s." Ian Smith, group CEO, or Travelsphere's parent company, the Page & Moy Travel Group, said: “Many of today’s older travellers have time, money and the internet at their fingertips to entice and enable. The UK’s older population is growing at the fastest rate, accounting for 17% of our population today, but is expected to rise to 23% by 2035, so older travellers will continue to dominate the tourism offering at home and abroad”.