Fitness vacations favor fun, adventure over weight loss

Mon May 11, 2015 12:53pm EDT
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fitness vacations have ventured far from the fat farm.

Today’s fit-focused travelers want to pair exercise with escapades and fitness with fun, whether it's yoga among the sea turtles, bootcamp on the beach or a zumba cruise.

"Fitness retreat used to mean go away and lose weight," said Melisse Gelula, co-founder of the wellness media company Well+Good. "Now it's just working fitness into a schedule that might also include lavish dinners, beach time, cocktail hours, nights out dancing."

Wellness tourism, which includes travel paired with activities such as yoga retreats, fitness centers, boot camps, cycling, gyms and other activities, is about a $500 billion global market, according to The Global Wellness Tourism Economy report of 2013.

The report said wellness tourism represents 14 percent of total global tourism revenues overall and is projected to rise to 16 percent by 2017.

In January, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd will launch its first ever Zumba Cruise, offering all-day classes in the popular Latin American dance-based aerobic program during a cruise that will leave from Fort Lauderdale in Florida and make stops in Jamaica and Haiti.

Daily classes will be led by 130 zumba instructors.

"Our focus is more fun," said Allison Robins of the global lifestyle brand Zumba Fitness, which is working with the cruise line. "You’ll never see us talking about weight loss, although that just happens."   Continued...

A man practices yoga on the beach in Fortaleza July 2, 2014.  REUTERS/Yves Herman