Travel: Holiday Trends for 2012

January 13, 2012

Talk of a double dip recession plus the current Eurozone crisis isn't stopping people from jetting away in 2012. In fact, there is a determined desire to escape from it all, say travel firms with bookings on luxury breaks proving popular.

Research carried out by package trip specialist Jet2holidays on over 1,000 holiday-makers found that 28% of respondents felt a holiday is vital to their health and wellbeing.

And they say bookings on their luxury breaks range are going well, with double the amount of holidaymakers booking budget busting trips to 5 star luxury resorts than in previous years.

One example is their resort and spa holidays in Dalaman, Turkey. Trips there include a range of free activities from sauna to whirlpool and steam-room, gym, tennis,. table tennis, squash, volleyball, basketball, aerobics. yoga and.some watersports.

The SHA Wellness Clinic in Spain. The world’s first macrobiotic wellness resort focuses its detox programme.. Health and Fitness Travel offers 7 nights at SHA Wellness Clinic from £2,790pp including the detox programme, return flights and transfers

Their findings are backed up by independent tour operator Premier Holidays who are say bookings for 2012 are also strong and top destinations include Thailand, Indochina, and South Africa.

They’ve also just reported a huge increase in sales and – interestingly – high revenue bookings made in 2011.

Bookings on top-end holidays, at a value of £10k, were up a massive 54 % in the financial year 2011 compared to the same period in 2010.

Significantly, high-value bookings were up 19 % to the USA and 18 % to ‘faraway’ destinations, in a clear demonstration the British public is as keen as ever to invest in long-haul, high-end holidays.

Susan Papworth Managing Director, Premier Holidays, says, “We attribute a lot of this growth to a greater proliferation of special offers from luxury hotels, free nights and some reduced rates throughout the year. Aggressive air fares – particularly with regard to business-class deals – has also encouraged travellers.”

“We predict Indochina will come into its own this year – people are looking for a holiday with a difference, places they may not have visited before, that are now more accessible,” she says, adding that sales to Canada too are increasing.

Meanwhile health and fitness travel specialists, Health and Fitness Travel, are forecasting the next big trend in this niche sector include ‘bootcamps’ for the soul, as well as the body.

“More holidays are offering a gentler approach in how to exercise with dedicated tailor-made wellness programmes and some much needed time for relaxation,” explains company spokesman Paul Joseph.

His tip for one of the best ways to boost your immune system and beat the winter blues includes a luxury 7-day trip ‘detox’ trip to a secluded location at a Himalayan retreat.

“The programme begins with wellness and culinary consultations, a fitness test and a body composition analysis. A range of detoxifying baths, massages, showers, salt scrubs, aroma cocoons and a personalised yoga session will follow. You are also invited to participate in scheduled wellness activities, such as meditation, cooking demonstrations, workshops and lectures,” says Paul.

Here’s some of Paul’s other predictions for top health and fitness breaks in 2012.

Kempinsk in Turkey is one of the locations offered by Health and Fitness Travel

Spa and Culture  - More spas around the world now enable you to dip your toes in another country’s culture and experience your destination on a holistic level. Combining a healthy getaway with culture is a way to experience spa therapies that are indigenous to the country you are visiting.  More innovative spas have created treatments based on their local culture and customs.

Bootcamp for the Soul We want more of a holistic approach to fitness. The new wave of active and wellness retreats help you wind down and tone up at the same time with a little bit of luxury in comparison to the tough military bootcamp approach. More holidays offer a gentler approach in how to exercise with dedicated tailor-made wellness programmes and some time for relaxation.


Holidaying with Health Gurus

Top health and fitness experts now work at some of the leading resorts around the world. More people want to receive dedicated support and guidance from the best in the industry; wellness retreats are bringing in the top yoga teachers, nutritionists, doctors, personal trainers and more health gurus to raise their game. Clients want to be inspired and informed so that they can lead a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle when they return home.

Nutrition as a Foundation

Spas will start to focus more on nutrition with follow-up consultations so clients can make healthy changes to their lifestyle. More spas need to stress the importance of nutrition as we cannot expect to see proper results from spa treatments without the spa-goer making the necessary adjustments to their diet. The body needs to be looked at as a whole with nutrition being the most powerful way of working on the body, skin and mind.

Social Spa-ing

2012 will continue to see a rise in community spas where socialising is a major aspect. The spas will be designed in ways that allow spa-goers to socialise and receive treatments at the same time. The growing trend for Hammam rituals and treatments is a great illustration of this, building on the traditions of communal bathing and cleansing.

The Jewel Dunn's River, Jamaica, another holiday from Health and Fitness Travel

Healthy Breaks for Men

The stereotype that pampering is for women and fitness for men is cracking. More men every year are opting for healthy breaks rather than adrenaline-filled action-packed holidays. The dawning realisation that healing spa therapies and detox are not a feminine concept is increasing demand for such retreats for both genders. There are many spas that cater to men and have specialised treatments for their neglected muscles and abs.

Healthy Aging

The years ahead could be the golden age of 50+ travellers, as walking, cycling, tennis, spa and yoga holidays become more popular as retirees seek to prolong their vitality. It isn’t about reducing wrinkles, but rather health enhancement and disease prevention. 

Mind and Body Awareness

As well as keeping in good physical shape, the equal importance of mental fitness and body awareness is being more widely acknowledged. Meditation is no longer viewed as a spiritual past time, but as an essential daily tool for coping with stress, and more holistic classes are appearing on activity schedules such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong and yoga. Wellness retreats around the world are incorporating programmes to aid stress reduction through meditation and healing therapies.

Health and Fitness in Nature

Many wellness resorts are moving their programmes outdoors and encouraging guests to engage with the natural resources exclusive to their locations. Outdoor activities can range from hiking in the mountains, yoga in the garden, outdoor rock climbing, open air spas, water sports and meditation on the beach.

Family Wellness

The boom in solo travellers continues to rise for wellness holidays but more families are now searching for these types of getaways. Parents want their children to be healthy on holiday and keep busy with activities so they don’t get bored. More resorts are also introducing healthy children’s menus so they can learn good habits early.

Sleep Well

With 75% of the UK workforce getting less than the recommended eight hours of sleep per night, more of us are suffering from sleep problems due to stress and hectic lifestyles. Wellness retreats round the world are introducing sleep programmes to assist clients with problems such as chronic insomnia or even just mild sleep problems.



Looking to make 2012  the year you improve your fitness and lose weight but can’t afford a sp break? Anne Gorringe talks to Bristol personal fitness trainer, and former England Rugby International David Rees for his top tips….

  • Buy a heart rate monitor – this is a great investment, as it works as your own ‘personal trainer’ and helps you to see how quickly you can improve.
    Wear it when you exercise and keep your average beats per minute above 125 bpm on that walk or run. My clients have found the Polar ft 1 is easy to use. Write down kcals burnt and watch your average heart rate lower over the weeks.
  • If you don’t know where to start, think back to an exercise or a recreation you used to enjoy but haven't had time for. Or join a club or find a neighbour who wants to get fit and ‘compete’ with each other.
  • If finding time for exercise is difficult. If you don’t need the car for work, how about cycling or walking to work? You'll be amazed at how many kcals a week this will add up to besides saving money.
  • Preparation is the key to avoid eating the wrong things when you’re hungry and get in from work late.  Instead have a big cook at the weekend – say a big bolognaise, enough to feed a family of 5, which you then put into individual containers and freeze for the week.
  • Use good quality, low fat meat. This is your protein base then you can add delicious, nutritious bits to it, sweet potato blasted in the microwave for a quick, hot hearty dish or loads of green vegetables and salad. Saves, time, money and calories!
  • And you can’t beat a hot soup at lunchtime to stop you snacking. Buy ready-prepared lentil-based soups if you have to – or, if you have time boil a ham hock and vegetables. Any good quality protein helps when you’re upping your exercise routine.

David Rees and colleagues set up the personal training company Oakfield Personal Training in Clifton, Bristol. See for more details.



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