While soccer fans prepare for the month-long extravaganza that is the World Cup, many of their unenthusiastic partners are considering fleeing the soccer madness and finding companies willing to help them escape.
Rushing to Switzerland?
What is a soccer widow to do this summer? Whether the love of her life is sprawled out on the couch for a month, beer in hand, bellowing something incomprehensible and abusive at the television or whether he is in Germany following his team, chances are there are going to be many women who don’t share their partner's enthusiasm for the World Cup.
While many may see this as a break from the usual relationship merry-go-round in itself, there are alternatives to ferrying in snacks, restocking the fridge or waiting for his team to get knocked out with sympathetic words at the ready. Why not simply take off and leave the World Cup behind?
Travel and tourism companies have already spotted the potential of the soccer widow market and have started advertising getaway packages and enticing those for whom a month-long soccer tournament is a personal hell.
Take the Swiss Tourism Board’s cheeky ambush marketing campaign which features a selection of hunky men, stretching and flexing while a sexy voice intones: "Dear girls, why not escape this summer’s World Cup to a country where men spend less time on football, and more time on you?"
Hunky Swiss with more on their minds than soccer
Who could resist these fine young Swiss men?
The 35-second advert, which will begin its run on French, German and Swiss television from the start of May, features a farmhand, a cable car conductor, a mountain climber, a ferryman and a couple of brawny lumberjacks before signing off with Renzo Blumenthal -- Mr Switzerland 2005 and a real-life farmer -- milking and then leaning up against a cow while pouting provocatively.
The Swiss Tourism Board is hoping that female tourists from Switzerland's neighbors will leave their men on the couch, in the bar, or at the stadium and get away from World Cup fever in the Alps. The smoldering ad may even bring in male visitors. "It is certainly not aimed at gay tourists, but if they like it and come to Switzerland because of it, that's fine," a campaign spokeswoman said in a statement.
The Swiss are not the only ones out to cash in.
A number of international air carriers such as British Airlines and Easyjet are offering cut-price tickets and offers during the World Cup to destinations other than Germany. Travel agents are also seeing the potential in the soccer widow market.
Specialist travel agents seeing anti-World Cup boom
But who's to say that only men like soccer?
Just You, a specialist holiday company for single travelers, has already seen a 15 percent increase in female tourists booking their holidays for the period of the World Cup compared to the June-July period in 2005. "It appears that a beautiful beach is more appealing than the beautiful game," said Julie Chew, the company’s customer services manager, in a recent television interview.
"Many of the women calling our customer service team have mentioned the prospect of a whole month of soccer motivating them to book a holiday,” she said. "More and more people are choosing to holiday alone for a variety of reasons; however, it does seem the World Cup is accelerating this trend."
"Northern Cyprus and Mauritius are proving to be popular beach destinations, though our 9-day break to New England and New York is a big draw for shoppers."
Whether or not you're looking to get away from a particular game or for the whole month, there seems to be plenty on offer for those soccer widows willing not to grieve about the loss of their loved one for the duration of the World Cup.