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According to SpaFinder’s fifth annual State of Spa Travel survey, travel agents report that travel to hotel, resort and destination spas rebounded in 2010, and that spa travel is registering significantly bigger gains in 2011. And, for the first time in the survey's history, agents ranked "increased client interest in spa travel specifically for wellness and health" as the No. 1 emerging trend, with “social spa-ing” (group travel to spas) rated as the second biggest trend, and people traveling solo ranking third.
And, surprisingly, despite the gradual economic and travel market recovery, 55% of agents reported that “stay” spas have been more aggressive with deals in 2011 compared to 2010, while another 37% report that the deals are holding firm.
“Spas’ ongoing, greatly expanded focus on health, wellness and prevention, rather than mere pampering, combined with their ongoing attractive pricing, have been the two keys to this travel category’s resiliency over these last tough years,” noted Susie Ellis, president, SpaFinder, Inc. “And the No. 1 trend in 2011, what is called ‘wellness tourism,’ shows that a new vacation concept is gaining traction: People are stressed and burned out, and they increasingly want to use their precious vacations to jumpstart healthy lifestyle changes, so they can return from trips feeling revitalized, rather than worse than when they left.”
The survey was conducted in August 2011 with global travel agents. It’s designed to provide annual insight into unfolding developments in the spa travel sector, including the overall health of the market, current pricing and consumer trends, traveler demographics and popular locations/amenities.
Forty-six percent of agents reported an increase in their spa travel bookings for full-year 2010, while 34% reported they remained about the same in 2010 compared with 2009. (One in five reported declines last year.)