The UK travel industry is lagging behind Europe in exploiting the multi-billion pound spa and wellness industry, the boss of a specialist company has warned.

John Bevan (pictured), managing director of Spafinder, believes tour operators and agents do not know enough about the range of spa and wellness product.

The former lastminute.com and Voyage Privé chief explained: “We are not inspiring consumers to think about doing these things and doing them close to home.

“All we talk about is beach and all-inclusive and we don’t open up enough to say there is much more.

“There’s a massive choice within this arena from medical spas to deal with illness or surgery, through to those designed purely to relax, eat well and do things like yoga and have massages.

“Most agents and operators have not spotted the opportunity in a market that is expanding faster than the industry as a whole.”

Bevan feels the breadth of product in Europe in particular is a knowledge blind spot, with multi-million pound facilities dotted all over the continent.

And he believes the attitude that men play golf and women go to the spa is now totally outdated as demand from men for spa and wellness breaks is “phenomenal.”

Travel Weekly spoke to Bevan on the eve of the launch of the 11th Spafinder Wellness 365 Trends Report that takes views and data from tens of thousands of agents, consumers, industry leaders and researchers to predict the biggest trends for the coming year.

Highlighted in this year’s report are the likes of suspending gravity (or floating), aromatherapy and spas that help people deal with divorce, illness, job loss and even coming to terms with the death of a loved one.