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Solo travel set to rise

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101 Holidays reports surge in demand for singles holidays. Holiday companies predict 38% of customers in 2015 will be travelling solo. The most popular destination for dedicated singles holidays is Greece, followed by Turkey, but travel companies say many solos are increasingly looking for adventure.

Singles holidays are on the rise, with the biggest surge in demand from the over 50s traveller, according to research out today from travel inspiration website, 101 Holidays.

Holiday companies that run group tours in the UK and overseas are reporting that 35% of their clients now travel alone and they expect this figure to rise to 38% in 2015, based on advance bookings. As a result, many holiday companies, including Cox & Kings, Caribtours and Journey Latin America are offering incentives to attract people who are single, divorced or widowed, such as dedicated holidays for people travelling alone and, increasingly, the scrapping of single supplements.

The analysis of 100,000 holiday bookings was carried out by 101 Holidays which has launched a new website to meet the demand, 101 Singles Holidays. The site has 101 suggestions for solo travellers selected by the award-winning travel writer, Cathy Winston.

Winston says: “Travelling solo has lost much of the lonely hearts stigma it once carried. And it's not limited to the 18-30 age group backpacking around the world, with single people of all ages feeling more confident about travelling alone, especially women.  Our research showed that the average age of a solo traveller is now 54 and this is predicted to rise in future years.

"Not everyone holidaying alone is single, with more women leaving husbands and partners at home as they tick items off their bucket lists. The new figures also reflect changing UK demographics with a growing population that is older, healthier and wealthier.”

According to the research, 58.3% of single holidaymakers are female. But that figure rises for more active and exotic trips such as walking holidays (64%) and African safaris (60%). Men are more likely to take cycling and sailing trips.

The most popular destination for dedicated singles holidays is Greece, followed by Turkey, but travel companies say many solos are increasingly looking for adventure. Popular trips include cruises on the River Nile, trekking in Nepal, viewing the Northern Lights and gorilla trekking in Rwanda.

The report by 101 Holidays is supported by research from the Association of British Travel Agents. Its 2014 Consumer Holiday Trends Report found that 13% of UK holidaymakers now travel alone. But, it said, “for people aged over 65 the figure rises to 21%, suggesting older age groups are among the most independent when it comes to taking holidays”.

Cathy Winston adds: “Increasingly, travel companies are waking up to the fact that single travellers are big business with a huge choice of solo holidays now on offer, and some are negotiating with hotels to remove the dreaded single supplements. This is a trend that looks only set to increase.”

Cathy also points to an increasing growth in single parent holidays, with several companies scrapping supplements for mums or dads travelling alone with their kids.

Recent years have also seen a sharp hike in self-development and learning holidays which are growing in popularity among singles - including meditation, yoga, pilates, weight loss, cookery courses and creative writing.
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