Report predicts surge in 'deprivation vacations'

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InsightLooking for a new niche? Think deprivation. According to the World Travel Market Global Trends Report 2010, released at World Travel Market last week, deprivation vacations are the next big thing for well-heeled North American travelers tired of spending their vacations on a massage table.

It predicts a surge in vacations that focus on extreme experiences -- such as challenging treks across harsh terrain, boot-camp-style spa resorts and certain adventure activities like auto racing -- in place of traditional luxury amenities.

According to the WTM report, affluent travelers are leaders in extreme exercise. Twelve percent of Americans who exercise do so five times a week, and 44% of them earn more than $75,000. The obesity epidemic and the popularity of fitness TV shows such as "The Biggest Loser" underline the importance of exercise, the trend report said.

As a result, WTM researchers declared, destination spas and camps with tough fitness programs will flourish as travelers seek physically and mentally transformative experiences.

The move toward deprivation vacations is an opportunity for destinations with harsh climates and rugged terrain to develop into havens for extreme tourists.

Physically challenging activities, such as hiking the Inca Trail and Mount Kilimanjaro, will draw more interest. Moreover, these kinds of trips are likely to become a strong niche globally, aimed at stressed-out travelers and driven by consumer concerns about rising healthcare costs and obesity, the report posited.

Retailers can read the full report at www.wtmlondon.com.

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