THE RISE OF THE ACTIVACATION: Move over beach selfie… make way for the ‘Welfie’

Keeping fit now vital part of vacation for 79% of holidaymakers, as™ reveals global fitness tourism obsession 

  • Fitfluencers: Over half (59%) of under 35s claim body positive celebrities and social media ‘fitfluencers’ are main inspiration for holiday workouts
  • Welfie over swimsuit selfie: Young holidaymakers now more likely to upload their sweaty workout selfie, or Welfie, than a sexy swimwear shot
  • Fit Friends: Research shows millennials are using exercise as a means to meet new people and see destinations from a different perspective
  • Fitness before food: Top-notch hotel fitness facilities are now the most important vacay consideration (34%), compared to proximity of good restaurants (27%) and nightlife (9%)
  • Activacations: mountaineering, strength & body weight training, HIIT swimming and hot yoga are top activities travellers want to try

London, 3rd August –™ has released new data* revealing a new wave of young travelers who are swapping beaches and beers for action-packed, celebrity-inspired fitness getaways, with this summer expected to see a boom in ‘welfies’ – workout selfies.

Results from the Activacations Survey show that a whopping 80% of 18-35 year olds now consider keeping fit one of the most important parts of their holiday experience, compared to 66% of baby boomers.

The survey carried out by travel experts shows that the rise of the ‘activacation’ is also down to a barrage of social media ‘fitfluencers’ who are combining sun, sea and sport.  Social media is poised for the ‘welfie’ to make waves this summer with young holidaymakers now more likely to upload a sweaty workout selfie (16%) than a sexy swimwear shot (10%).

Many holidaymakers are happy to give up top-notch food (42%), relaxing, (38%), sightseeing (32%) and even alcohol (24%) to get their fitness fix on vacation. Fitness is now so ingrained in the holiday experience, demand for superior fitness experiences from hotels has also reached a new high. State-of-the-art fitness facilities (26%), personal training (20%), healthy menus (25%) and free wearable fitness tech (17%) all feature high on the hotel wish list.

Whilst men seek to take part in extreme physical activities on vacation, such as cross-fit (12%), beach boot-camp (12%) and wakeboarding (16%), a quarter (25%) of women are opting for holistic wellness holidays with meditation, yoga and tai chi topping the activacation agenda. The top five activities travellers would be prepared to try are:

  • Strength and body weight training (69%)
  • Mountaineering (45%)
  • Personal training (34%)
  • HIIT swimming (26%)
  • Hot yoga (25%)

Isabelle Pinson, Vice President of EMEA at sai: “We love that people are seeing sport as a way to have more rewarding holiday experiences. There’s been a real evolution in holiday priorities and millennial travelers in particular now demand more from a trip. They want deals and perks when they book, like collecting a reward night for every 10 nights stayed with Rewards**, and fulfilling experiences where they see destinations from a fresh and unique perspective. Social media plays a key role too, as young travelers want to share their life in the touch of a button, and fitness is the latest trend they’re embracing and instagramming.

“Fitness options are now so important that millennials are choosing hotels based on how they’ll help them keep fit on vacation – and hotels are really upping their game. From tree house spin studios in St. Lucia to guided running tours around Morocco, there are some incredible opportunities for a completely individual activacation.”

Mike Martin, at leading sports brand 2XU comments, “There’s no doubt that the importance of fitness and wellness are bigger priorities than ever before, and holidays are no exception.  It is now trendy to be fit and healthy and we have seen a significant increase in sales as a result of people wanting to feel and look good whilst they work out.

“The availability of great quality and good-looking sportswear, like we offer at 2XU, has already helped shape the sports market and now millennials are choosing to spend money on unique holiday experiences that will enhance their lives too.”

Top wellness hotels around the world

The Westin Verasa Napa, California

Thanks to its new Gear Lending Programme, guests of The Westin Verasa Napa have access to New Balance shoes and clothing during their stay. Go it alone or have the running concierge take you out through wine country. The gym and pool offer more fitness-focused options and the special SuperFoods Rx menu ensures meals are always healthy. The Westin Verasa Napa is available from £260 per room per night.

BodyHoliday Cap Estate, St. Lucia

The whole property is fitness focused and you can unleash your inner camper here with some archery, fencing or water sports. You’ll definitely earn some “likes” with a shot of your spin class in the Tree House Studio, a glass-encased room perched in a tree. Then there’s yoga out on the Zen Deck – a giant platform, 25 feet high in a giant tree.

 1711 Ti Sana Detox Retreat & Spa, Milan

Perfect for detox, weight management and lifestyle improvement, guests are invited to revitalize and heal in this tranquil environment. Offering a comprehensive approach to wellness, Ti Sana’s signature ‘Healtheatarian’ tailored wellness programmes combine organic vegan nutrition, therapeutic physical activity and holistic therapies to ensure guests leave feeling rested and refreshed. The 1711 Ti Sana Detox Retreat & Spa is available from £136 per room per night.

 Park Hyatt Tokyo, Tokyo

A 47th floor sky-scraping gym! The gymnasium and aerobics studio flank either side of the pool on the sky-lit 47th floor of the hotel, giving jaw-dropping views of the Tokyo cityscape and the sacred slopes of Mt. Fuji. The gym is equipped with LifeFitness weight training and fitness equipment, and personal trainers assist guests and members with tailored fitness programmes. Of course, you can always just do some laps too. The pool is amazing. The Park Hyatt Tokyo is available from £419 per room per night.

 Riyad El Cadi, Morocco
Hotel Riyad El Cadi is the first to offer sightseeing tours for runners in the Moroccan king’s city Marrakech: a sightseeing tour combined with some easy jogging. The 9.3km tour begins at Hotel Riyad El Cadi with your host – a personal fitness coach with in depth knowledge of the area. They will lead you from the main mosque of Marrakech, the 12th century Koutoubia, via the legendary Hotel La Mamounia to the calm oasis of the Agdal Gardens.The Riyad El Cadi is available from £208 per room per night.

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 Notes to Editors:

*Survey of 8400 adults across 28 countrues, carried out by OnePoll between 31st March 2017 and 21st June 2017. All statistics included in the release come from this survey.

** Reward night does not include taxes and fees. See full terms and conditions

***Secret Prices are available to app users, Hotels.comTM Rewards members and individuals who unlock Secret Prices on the website by subscribing to by email. Secret Prices will be shown where the “Your Secret Price” banner is displayed on your search results. Available on selected hotels and selected dates only. Subject to full terms and conditions.