[dropcap size=big]L[/dropcap]aunched nine years ago, Wellbeing Escapes‘ founder and managing director, Stella Photi, she says that 70 per cent of her clients now prefer solo travel.
SITA World Tours has experienced a similar trend. Between 2011 and 2014, it reported bookings for one increased nearly 64 per cent, generating an increase of more than 90 per cent in sales.
Meanwhile, a report last year on Travel Market Report quoted Paul Wiseman, president of tour company Trafalgar, as saying: “In the US there are 10,000 Americans retiring every day, and a lot of those people are singles. They still love to travel. We have a broad demographic, and half are over 55.”
This is backed up by ABTA’s 2014 Consumer Holiday Trends report found that 21 per cent of holidaymakers over 65 are going it alone.
Stella says: “We are very careful to choose retreats where people will feel safe and nurtured, and personally vet each destination before putting together exclusive programmes. These can range from weight-loss to fitness, detox to healthy ageing, and stress-management to yoga and meditation.”
Also tapping into demand for solo journeys is new “travel inspiration” website 101 Singles Holidays, which launched at the beginning of the year.
According to a survey of 100,000 holiday bookings via tour operators in 2014, the company found that 35 per cent of clients were travelling alone. This is expected to rise to 38 per cent by the end of 2015, with almost 60 per cent of bookers being female.
What advice would you give solo travellers? Stella says: “Embrace the opportunity that you have to do exactly as you wish. You have the freedom to follow a programme that includes all the elements that you are interested in.
“It’s all about you and is the perfect chance to address any niggling health or emotional issues. We all need to be reminded that sometimes it is all about us – so invest in being the very best version of yourself and you’ll have the energy to march forward in all areas of your life.
“What’s more, it’s fun to head off on a solo adventure – make yourself open to all the people who cross your path, smile at everyone and embrace your new experiences.”
Stella says that one of her best independent trips was to Kamalaya in Koh Samui, Thailand. “I should have known better working in the wellbeing industry but a few years ago, the stresses and demands of running my own business brought me to the edge of burn-out,” she says.
“I retreated to this sanctuary to seek healing and a sustainable way to keep my life in balance when I returned home. Kamalaya is run by a team who are genuinely passionate about wellbeing and I embarked on a mixture of treatments including acupuncture, ayurvedic massages and detoxifying abdominal massages, which combined with gentle exercise such as Qi Gong and organic meals, had me feeling replenished by the end of my stay.”
The kinds of solo experiences that people can have with Wellbeing Escapes vary, but examples include surfing at Paradis Plage in Morocco, ayurvedic retreats at the Ananda in India, yoga at Zening in Cyprus, fitness at Sianji in Turkey, and stress management at the Sha Wellness Clinic in Spain.