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Despite the pressures of a slow economy, travel agents enjoyed a strong year for spa travel bookings in 2007 and remain upbeat about the prospects for spa travel for the remainder of 2008, according to SpaFinder's just-released 2008 State of Spa Travel survey.
According to the 2008 study, spa travel bookings in 2007 increased for 57% of surveyed agents and remained steady for an additional 29%, while only 13% reported a decline. For 2008, 58% expect there to be growth in bookings over 2007, while an additional 26% expect bookings to remain steady.
"Spa travel is increasingly a fundamental part of the health and wellness regimen for many Americans, young and old, and has evolved significantly from its once narrow association with pampering and the luxury class," said Susie Ellis, president of SpaFinder. "While this is helping to keep spa travel strong, the industry has also responded wisely to these challenging times by offering more special deals."
SpaFinder's 2008 State of Spa Travel survey was conducted with travel professionals in June and July of 2008. The annual study is designed to illuminate unfolding trends in spa travel, including consumer adoption, pricing, demographics, and popular locations and amenities.
Other top findingsIn a shift from 2007, 51% of agents now report that travelers aged 35-45 express the greatest interest in booking spa travel, versus 41% for the boomer 46-60 age group. In contrast, last year's study found boomers were the most interested in spa travel, when 58% of spa travelers fell in the 46-60 age group. So, Ellis noted, while baby boomers have traditionally been credited with fueling the spa travel boom, Gen-Xers are emerging as a key demographic as they seek relief from work-related stress.