• Travel

Why active holidays are more popular than ever

After a tough 3-years for active holiday operators, there’s a surge in interest from cooped up swimmers, says Scott Rice.

There is no doubt, the demand for active holidays, whether they be domestic or international, has never been greater. Sports event holidays or tours that once took 6-9 months to sell out are now selling out in a matter of days or even hours!

So, what’s driving this massive surge in interest? Let’s start by revisiting what we’ve all been through over the last few years.

With most countries locked down in their homes and cities for extended periods of time during 2020 and 2021, international and domestic travel was for the first time heavily restricted. This meant people who were used to enjoying one or two international holidays per year were needing to consider domestic or local alternatives.

Fast forward to today and almost all international borders have reopened with COVID-19 restrictions all having disappeared. Confidence levels for international travel continues to grow rapidly with Fiji Tourism reporting recently that their visitor numbers are almost back to pre-COVID-19 levels.

So, what’s the result of all of these world-changing events and how has it affected the demand for active holidays?

People have spent a lot less on travel than they typically would have over the last few years so their budgets for future international travel are much larger.

Regular international holiday goers have very itchy feet and are eager to get back on those planes or ships to visit the places and people they’ve been apart from.

Having been cooped up at home over the lockdowns has reduced social interaction. We’ve spent a considerable amount of quality time with our close family which has been very special, but, as we come out of the COVID haze, people are desperately needing that social engagement… and active or sporting holidays that provide that are more appealing.

Quality experiences over the last few years have also been in short supply. Sports event holidays or tours provide far more than just lying on the sun lounger for the day. They provide the perfect mix of recreation, fitness, social interaction, and relaxation which is exactly what people are needing.

An example to illustrate the growing demand for active holidays is Ocean Swim Fiji, an annual 5-day swimcation catering for recreational swimmers of all ages that was first staged in 2018.

As the Event Director, I recall my early experiences of launching a new event to market as being challenging. Being unproven and having a unique concept to introduce to the market, meaning it was a huge effort and investment to fill the spots we had available in year one.

With all the learnings and positive attendee testimonials from 2018, the 2019 event attracted more people and sold quicker than the inaugural event but still took us 8-9 months to fill the 200 available spots.

Ocean Swim Fiji, took a break in 2020, 2021 and 2022 because of COVID-19 international travel and border restrictions and it now makes it’s come back in May 2023.

The May event was put on sale in August and to my surprise, it sold out in just one day!

This gave me the confidence to stage a second event in August 2023 which is set to go on sale on the 10th of October to our fast-growing waitlist (join the waitlist here).

It’s great to be able to say it, international swimming holidays are back! And, on behalf of all operators out there, it would be great to have your support so we can continue to offer these unique, but challenging, events for you to enjoy.

  • Written by Ocean Swims on 2 October 2022
  • (Updated on 3 August 2023)

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