90pc of French people believe Speedos are acceptable beachwear

Photo: omnia_mutantur

Indeed, the 2013 Expedia Flip Flop report found that almost two-thirds (64 per cent) were hoping to take a beach holiday within the next year, while 46 per cent had taken one in the last 12 months. What people want more than anything is a relaxing beach break – with or without the trim trunks.

As a result, coastal properties are becoming increasingly popular for buyers, with beachfront investments in the Cayman Islands, Phuket, Belize and the Seychelles dominating buyer demand on TheMoveChannel.com in April 2013.

While beach holidays are in themselves relaxing, though, it is not just the house hunting that inspires serious preparation beforehand. The latest YouGov survey on pre-holiday trends, conducted for lastminute.de, found that 19 per cent of Italians increase their exercise regime before going on holiday, while 17 per cent go on a diet. With Italy having over 6 per cent of the world’s Blue Flag beaches, according to the Foundation for Environmental Education, Italians clearly want to look their best before reclining on such delightfully clean sand.

Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs, founder of Appassionata, which has renovated a fractional ownership property in Italy’s Le March region, notes a rise in interest: “One of the things that has attracted our owners – as well as how wonderful the house and estate are – is Casa Leopardi’s proximity to the beach. We have three Blue Flag beaches (Pedaso, Cupra Marittima and Grottamare) all within 10 km. As holiday home owners become more discerning, they are increasingly listing access to a beach as one of their key requirements.”

Spaniards are also concerned about their summer appearance, with the same YouGov survey finding that 21 per cent exercised more before their holidays and 14 per cent dieted. Indeed, the country’s famous Costas, from Del Sol to Blanca, are major hotspots for domestic and international investors looking for low-priced summer holiday homes.

European beachgoers were also the most permissive with regard to sunbathing topless on the beach, with 23 per cent feeling comfortable with upper-half nudity. However, 48 per cent of the total respondents were unhappy with the idea of dropping their tops (or more) while on the beach. For those looking for a holiday home in a place with a slightly more conservative attitude towards topless sunbathing, the Caribbean appears to be the new favourite.

Indeed, the island of Grenada is one of the top spots for those looking to own property overseas, having been predicted to be the fastest growing market in the Caribbean from 2011 to 2021 by the World Travel and Tourism Council.

The question is: how do they feel about Speedos?

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