The fastest growing trend in travel

Despite the double dip, 2012 looks to have had the highest number of UK holidaymakers setting off abroad once again. But this year people have thrown in their old travel habits and jumped on the fastest growing trend in travel; to learn something new on holiday.

This mounting demand for ‘learning holidays’ has seen – the leading holiday specialists, reach our biggest year yet. But it’s not just about having a one-off experience, once people have booked; they’re hooked, with an astounding 32% booking on another trip within the same year.

And in 2013 this trend looks set to get bigger still, as travellers’ hunger for new, tangible learning experiences gains even more momentum. With 24 years working in some of the biggest names in travel,’s CEO Vanessa Lenssen reflects on 2012 and predicts the most popular holidays, experiences and travel trends for 2013.
Vanessa’s top 5 travel trends for 2013:

1. Cooking holidays that go beyond the kitchen

With unprecedented growth over the past two years in cookery holidays, there’s no doubt they will be even more popular in 2013. But as trends towards local and sustainable food sweep the UK, travellers too are looking for culinary holidays with a greater focus on sustainable produce. From meeting the local food producers, to foraging for seasonal ingredients themselves, people are after a more unique firsthand experience of the provenance of their food.

“We’re responding to this trend by adding a new, unique range of cookery holidays to the range that not only teach you traditional cooking methods of the region, but that offer greater insight into local, seasonal and sustainable food as well.” says Vanessa.

2. Making your own way

Over 80% of bookings in 2012 were solo travellers, a trend that can only grow as the office of National Statistics predicts the number of singles in England and Wales will increase to 45% of the adult population in projections to 2031.

But it’s not just singles that are travelling solo, even those in relationships are clamouring to be part of the fastest growing trend in travel.

“A large number of our solo travellers are at a life stage where they feel they’re being ‘boxed in’; with society labelling them as ‘on the shelf’ or ‘over the hill’ when in actuality they’re at their hungriest for new life experiences. Learning holidays give them the freedom to broaden their experiences, enrich their lives and reject being pigeonholed.” Vanessa says.

3. Life transforming retreats

As the travel climate shifts, the once dreamt of yoga retreats and spa holidays are a thing of the past and simply won’t cut it in 2013. Now people want their wellbeing holidays to be more than just that – they need to offer transformations of the mind, fitness and diet, that last long after the holiday is over.

“People are after a holiday that puts more zest in their step. They want to come home feeling 10 years younger without the surgery, and with the skills, knowledge and motivation to make real changes to their lifestyles for the long term, not just for a week’s holiday. Our wellbeing holidays leave you excited about the future.’’ says Vanessa.

For wellbeing holidays sure to cause a stir in 2013, think luxury boot camp and detox in Andalucia, stress management and pampering in Thailand, to raw food and cleansing yoga in France.

4. ‘Create your own’ courses

Whether it’s a creating your own signature perfume from scratch in France, designing and crafting the jewellery you always wanted, or even making your own paint from natural resources in Spain, people are turning back to age old skills of ‘making it yourself’.

“I’ve made my own perfume and organic cosmetics and there’s nothing like that sense of accomplishment when you come home with your own creation that you can share with family and friends,” Vanessa says.

“And even better, ‘create your own’ holidays pay for themselves, the skills you learn last a lifetime and you save on buying expensive items back home.” has experienced an 80% increase in ‘create your own’ holidays in the past 12 months and we’re predicting this trend to rise and rise in 2013.

5. One of a kind accommodation

While the sting of the recession lingers and people continue cutting back in their everyday lives, they’re less willing than ever to compromise on the quality of their one real treat; their holiday. And for a growing number accommodation is becoming an increasingly important element of their holiday.

“More than ever people are looking for high quality accommodation that offers something truly unique and memorable.” Vanessa says.

In response to this are creating a unique and distinct holiday range for 2013 which includes off-grid creative retreats, glamping, luxury Riads, one of a kind designer beach lodges, luxury farmhouses, elegant country retreats and more…

Be part of the fastest growing trend in travel and to learn more visit:

Vanessa Lenssen is available for interview and comment on request.

Notes: are learning holiday specialists selling a range of over 1000 inspirational holiday courses in over 37 countries worldwide to suit all timescales & budgets. was recently nominated for two 2012 British Travel Awards in the categories for best special interest tour operator and best singles holiday tour operator.
All holidays are focused on learning a new skill or pursuing an existing hobby and include unique courses where you can go learn to speak Spanish, cook, flamenco dance, make your own perfume, surf, kitesurf, cook paella, make Italian gelato, paint, ride horses like a cowboy, scuba dive, take photographs to be proud of, make jewellery and much more.

Vanessa Lenssen:

After working in senior roles for the likes of Virgin, STA Travel, TUI and MyTravel, founder and CEO of, Vanessa Lenssen was inspired to create after learning to kitesurf in Tarifa. There she had her lightbulb moment, realising that there might be others out there who could never really relax on holiday unless they switched their brain into ‘holiday mode’ by learning something new.
Vanessa has since gone on learning holidays in everything from skydiving, flamenco dance, to pastry making and everything in between.

Vanessa was awarded the SHINE corporate woman of the year award and was shortlisted for Red Magazine’s ‘Red Hot Women award’ in the online business category.

Media enquiries:
T: + 44(0) 208 144 5990

World Travel Market 2012 industry report, Centre of Future Studies, Mintel.

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