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Fitness and wellness holidays a growing trend

Fitness and wellness holidays a growing trend
February 4, 2015

With tourism operators and travel agents always looking to develop new sectors, a growing trend for ‘fitness tourism’ is on the rise.

In addition to established wellness destinations like the Golden Door Health Retreat Elysia in the NSW Hunter Valley, qualia on Hamilton Island and the Gold Coast’s Gwinganna and Biggest Loser Retreat (the former Golden Door Health Retreat), other hotels are offering a range of fitness and wellness packages, while travel agents are also aiding individuals and group with packages to participate in the growing number of adventure, multisport and obstacle race events.

Australian Federation of Travel Agents Chief Executive Jayson Westbury recently told the Sydney Morning Herald that wellness holidays are on the rise, stating “the general health messages are getting through to people and what better way to address that than by using your holiday to put some healthy living together.”

Westbury says service providers are catching onto the trend with new businesses springing up to offer a variety of health and fitness holiday options.

Samantha Lippiatt is the Australian head of Health and Fitness Travel, which launched in Australia last year following the success of the business in the UK.

Lippiatt says Australia has been showing all the market signs that drove the UK boom five years ago, stating “people are busy nowadays juggling everything on our plates. When they go on holiday they want to maximise that time, and they want to come back feeling better.”

Lippiatt says that in the short-term it's about multi-tasking, and in the long-term it's about taking responsibility for health.

She adds “there's been a shift in behaviour in Australia, particularly with people becoming responsible for their own long term health.

“People are wanting a better quality of life, and we are seeing that reflected in their holiday choices.”

As a destination, Norfolk Island has increasingly has been offering growing selection of retreats and wellbeing facilities, the most recent of which, the Natural Therapies Clinic offers a ‘Living Cleanse Package’ to reconnect body, mind and soul using a mixture of homeopathy, deep tissue massage, allergy testing and food re-education.

Based on Sydney's Northern Beaches, Cutting Edge Adventures have, over the last year, expanded their adventure and sport tourism oriented offerings to include packages to attend adventure, multisport and obstacle race events.

Aimed at groups, and enabling individuals to join teams that will enter events such as Tough Mudder, the packages can also link to training and fitness packages that will prepare participants for the events.

Kara-Lee Taibel, a former securities lawyer turned travel business operator, launched her business Tickled Pink Travel, to combine fitness holidays aboard cruise ships.

Taibel explains “I'm pretty big into fitness myself, and I'm also big into cruising.

“I always saw a gap in the market when I went on cruise ships - they've got really great facilities but no one uses them.”

Taibel books 150 to 200 berths on Australian cruise ships and themes her tours either around general fitness or specific fad-based fitness holidays, with pole-dancing a current popular favourite.

She adds “there's a lot of people who like to keep fit regardless of whether they're going on holiday or not, especially now that it's getting more and more popular for people to be fit and healthy.”

Click here to view the Sydney Morning Herald feature 'Fitness Travel the new Vacation Trend'.

Images courtesy of qualia (top) and Cutting Edge Adventures (below).





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