Martin Hickman ,
The Independant |
From yoga retreats in Thailand to seaweed wraps in Torquay, Britons are alleviating the stress of the 21st century by going on "well-being" holidays to bolster body and mind.
Research shows more people are taking breaks at home and abroad to seek relaxation, beauty treatments or cosmetic surgery, while fewer opt for the traditional beach holiday.
Increasingly popular vacation activities include weight-loss treatments, detox diets, mineral and thermal skin treatments and massage and cosmetic surgery such as breast enlargement.
In a report published today, Mintel estimates that £135m was spent on health and wellness holidays last year and forecasts spending will double by 2011. Stressed people are seeking a change from traditional "fly-and-flop" breaks, and becoming more adventurous, said Richard Cope, a market analyst.
"Once upon a time most holidaymakers were happy to return home with a suntan and a bottle of the local hooch," he said. "In the future they will be bringing back a greater sense of well-being, a major life-shift, a new look and maybe even some new body parts."
Healthy eating, nutrition, exercise, beauty, relaxation and pampering are becoming more important to people and many want to incorporate those elements into holidays, the research found.
A poll revealed that 32 per cent of people - 16 million adults - had enjoyed spas or saunas while on holiday in the past year. Some 23 per cent, 10 million, had a massage. "Medical tourism" is the most popular activity in the health and wellness holiday sector. Faced with expensive treatment on their local high street or Harley Street, people are travelling to eastern Europe for cheap dental work or to places such as Singapore, where cosmetic surgery can be half the cost it is in Britain. Medical tourism is worth £60m a year.