Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Changing Face of Singles Holidays

Almost a third of the UK's foreign holidays are taken by single holidaymakers, according to market research by Mintel. A generation ago, the idea of holidaying alone would have evoked visions of propping up a bar by yourself, feeling glum in a hotel room for one or, worse still, being forced into a full program of speed dating and match-making.

Today, many singles holidays are more about authentic experiences, learning new skills, meeting like-minded people and making genuine acquaintances. The pressure to couple-up has taken a back-seat and single travellers are just as keen to experience an exciting culture and socialise with a new group, as they are to meet a potential partner.

How times have changed. But why?

There are more single people than ever before – Around 14.2 million aged between 16 and 64, according to the latest census. Career-minded women and pickier partners are two of the possible reasons behind this trend, and the increase in this social group has seen a rise in demand for holidays designed specifically with singles in mind.

Attitudes towards being single have changed – Just 20 years ago, if you were still single at 30, you’d have been considered well and truly ‘on the shelf’; past census’ show that in 1970, the average age for men to marry was 23, and even younger (21) for women; rising to 24 and 22 by 1980. Today, people tend to marry nearer the age of 30, and some leave it far later, or chose not to marry at all. Being single later in your adult life is becoming the norm, and so holiday companies are catering to a more sophisticated singles market. 

We’re embracing new ways of meeting people - Dating sites have become one of the most popular ways for single people to meet potential partners. Gone are the days when we were content at snapping up the best looking boy at the ball, today’s single people are more adventurous and more determined to meet someone who shares their interests. Skills-based singles holidays, such as cooking holidays or painting holidays are the perfect way to meet a more compatible companion.

The UK has a rising divorce rate – Research by the Office of National Statistics shows a year-on-year increase in UK marriage break ups. Today, the decline in religion may make us less likely to stay in a failing marriage and the ‘normalising’ of divorce has allowed us to end unhappy marriages more easily. This trend has seen the growth of a new wave of single people, looking to engage with new social circles and meet new partners. Starting out again, the second time round, can seem really tough at first, but a singles holiday can be the ideal starting point for making a fresh start.

We’re more independent than ever before – Not content with hanging around waiting for Mr or Mrs Right anymore, today’s single people are ready to embrace their lives and try new experiences, partner or no partner. Even non-singles go on singles holidays today; rather than being tied to the hip, couples appreciate each other as individuals and a skills-based holiday, like a Pilates holiday or a cooking holiday, can be the ideal opportunity to indulge.

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