B.C. travellers trade relaxation for transformation

    Adventure and educational travel will be the leading trends for 2008,
    says BCAA Travel

    BURNABY, BC, Dec. 28 /CNW/ - British Columbians won't be looking to just
vacation in 2008 - they'll be looking to change their lives. According to a
recent survey of BCAA travel experts, travellers are demanding more from their
holidays than basking on a beach or seeing the sights. Over the past year,
BCAA Travel has seen a marked increase in educational, adventure, health/spa
and culinary getaways - and those trends are predicted to continue into 2008.
    The survey group - which included 103 BCAA Member Travel counsellors,
North American Travel Specialists, Travel Consultants and Travel Services'
staff - collectively observed increased inquiries and bookings for the
following types of vacations:

    -   Adventure Travel: From a gamut of outdoor activities to volunteering
        to cultural immersion - adventure travel comes in many shapes and
        sizes. And "adventure" doesn't necessarily mean ascending Mount
        Everest or traversing the Arabian Peninsula on camelback. Adventure
        travel also comes in "soft" forms such as observing giant sea turtles
        laying their eggs on the beaches of Costa Rica. More women,
        honeymooners, families and the over-50 set are booking more adventure
        holidays than ever before.

    -   Educational travel: Many vacationers are choosing learning over
        lounging, whether it is a skill, sport or lifelong interest. Some
        examples are themed tours of the great opera houses of Europe or the
        gardens of the British Isles, learning Italian at the Universita Per
        Stranieri Perugia, or studying the natural wonders of the Amazon rain
        forests. BCAA Travel is finding that these holidays are particularly
        popular with university-educated professionals seeking further
        enrichment in areas not covered in their day-to-day work lives.

    -   Health & spa travel: Take a deep breath and say "Ohmmm". From luxury
        hotel resorts to rustic retreats, health-centric vacations are
        becoming an increasingly popular pursuit, particularly for those
        leading hectic lifestyles wanting to achieve better life balance.
        More vacationers are keeping those extra pounds at bay by
        specifically choosing resorts that specialize in their preferred
        sporting pursuits - such as golf and tennis, or yoga and pilates.

    -   Culinary travel: Combining passions for food, wine and travel has
        become the ideal sensory experience for many. Tuscany, for example,
        has become a popular destination for "foodies" who may arrange for a
        local chef to conduct a class at their rented villa - then match
        their newly acquired recipes with wines of the region. Other choices
        include dining out at unique and memorable restaurants, visiting
        farmers' markets, touring wineries, gourmet food shopping and
        attending food and wine festivals.

    "People don't just want a break from the office, they want to do
something different - something that will have a positive impact on their
lives," says BCAA's Senior Manager of Travel Product, Dale Urquhart.
"Travellers today are clearly looking for the unconventional or
non-traditional, and to fulfil their desire to explore and learn."
    Another trend observed by BCAA travel experts, and predicted to continue
is Group Travel. During the last few years, BCAA has made increasing numbers
of bookings for groups looking to get away for multi-generational family
holidays, reunions, weddings, milestone birthday or anniversary celebrations;
or to catch up with a group of friends. More and more, individual travellers
are also looking to team up with other like-minded travellers and vacation as
a group - as evidenced by the popularity of services such as BCAA's "Solo
Travellers Club."

    About BCAA Travel: BCAA Travel is one of the largest travel agencies in
B.C. and boasts the most qualified travel professionals in the industry. All
BCAA travel consultants are required to be certified members of the Canadian
Institute of Travel Counsellors, the highest level of professional achievement
in the Canadian travel industry. BCAA backs its travel advice with the
Anytime, Anywhere Travel Guarantee. BCAA also offers travel planning tools
such as TripTik(R) routing maps & TourBook(R) guides.

For further information:

For further information: Trace Acres, Director, BCAA Corporate
Communications, (604) 268-5029, trace.acres@bcaa.com; Dale Urquhart, Senior
Manager, BCAA Travel Product, (604) 268-5073, dale.urquhart@bcaa.com

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