'Olympic effect' boosts interest in active breaks

lympic Games is set to boost sales of activity holidays.

Inspired by British athletes such as Jessica Ennis and Bradley Wiggins (pictured), customers are turning to sport-focused holidays.

Activity specialist Mark Warner is already attributing a jump in enquiry levels for sailing, tennis and windsurfing holidays to the ‘Olympic effect’, while adventure tour operator Explore is anticipating an increased appetite for family multi-activity breaks.

Mark Warner head of marketing Tim Locke said: “We are noticing a growing trend for people wanting to combine fitness and well-being on holiday so we are putting this down to the Olympic effect.”

Bookings for the operator’s tennis courses are up 17% year on year, and sailing and windsurfing courses are up 20%.

Explore head of product strategy Peter Crane said children in particular were likely to be inspired to take up sport, which is expected to lead to rising demand for family breaks that include rafting, canoeing and cycling. Explore’s cycling tours are up 40% year on year. Crane said the operator would respond to any rise in demand by developing new tours.

Kuoni managing director Derek Jones predicted a surge in sales after the Olympics but said: “There is normally a bounce-back in bookings after a sports event and I am sure people will look to do more activities, driven by the younger generation, after the Olympics. How that translates into travel plans is difficult to predict.”

Agents also hope to capitalise on clients’ renewed interest in sports tourism or activity breaks.

Nick McKay, managing director of Travel Designers in Clapham, said: “We’re talking to two of our big partners about how to build on sports tourism. The Olympics has captured people’s imaginations.”

Luxury travel specialist Jenny Jackson, of Travel PA, is hoping the success of runners Usain Bolt, of Jamaica, and Kirani James of Grenada will boost Caribbean sales.

Ideal Travel, which specialises in cycling trips, is sending out its mailshot two months early to capitalise on the Olympics.

Agent Sophie Cook said: “There’s definitely an increase i