Rich North Americans trade luxury for deprivation holidays


Rich North Americans are turning their backs on excessive luxury in favour of boot camp-style holidays, reveals WTM Global Trends Report 2010 today (Monday 8 November).

The report, in association with Euromonitor International, shows the global economic downturn and age of austerity have pushed North America’s affluent to seek self-improvement holidays and extreme sports.

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North America’s top earners already lead the field in extreme exercise with research from the National Institute of Health revealing that 12% of those who exercise do so five times a week and 44% earn more than £47,500 (US$75,000).

The rise in obesity and the dawn of fitness TV programmes such as The Biggest Loser has also pushed extreme pursuits and fitness up the agenda.

The trend has spurred the development of a new breed of resorts such as The Ranch at Live Oak Malibu. At £3,533 (US$5,600) a week the retreat offers high-level executives, amongst others, a punishing regime of 10 hours of exercise daily with the promise of shedding up to 5% of body fat.

Further evidence of the trend from the US Adventure Racing Association shows a growing interest in the sport, with races up from 11, ten years ago, to 194 in 2009.

World Travel Market Chairman Fiona Jeffery said: “The age of austerity has seen consumers, including and maybe even especially the well off, shun excess in favour of more wholesome, sustainable living.”

“The desire for healthier lifestyles and deeper experiences represents a massive opportunity globally.”

Euromonitor International Head of Global Travel and Tourism Research Caroline Bremner said: “The US economy has been hard hit by the financial crisis and put the spotlight on rising healthcare costs and obesity. With the recovery expected to gain momentum in 2011, there will be a raft of new opportunities in this area for travel and tourism.”