Jetset teddies enjoy the bear necessities

Teddy bears may be renowned for having picnics, but that just doesn't cut it for the modern bear - it's a holiday in Europe or nothing.

That, at least, is the experience of one bear, whose Hong Kong medical student owner has become the first international client of a wacky new section of the travel industry - European holidays for teddy bears.

Oscar Wang, 28, is studying in London and has just sent his much-loved teddy 'to do some sightseeing and enjoy himself' in Munich, Germany. 'Grey Bear is over 15 years old and has never had a holiday. When I heard about the Munich holidays for teddies I knew it would be perfect for him,' he said.

'I've asked for him to visit the Oktoberfest and to try some German sausage and beer. I've never had the chance to go to Germany myself so hopefully he can see it all for me.'

Teddy travel agents Christopher Bohm and Elke Verheugen, from, promise 'The Holiday of a Teddy Lifetime' with a host of activities on offer for vacationing toys.

The cuddly toys spend an 'action-packed week' of sightseeing, game evenings and a traditional teddy bear's picnic, followed by a visit to a Munich beer house. Teddy owners can also choose activities to suit the nature of their faithful friend, such as fishing, golfing, paragliding and bungee jumping.

Teddy tour groups travel around the city in a specially converted cart pulled by their guides, who take pictures of every aspect of the toys enjoying their holiday for their owners to pore over later.

A hand-bound photo album is sent home with the teddy, and is included in the price of the holiday - about GBP100 ($1,400) for international bears.

Owners pay the cost of shipping their teddy to Munich - in a padded container to avoid an uncomfortable journey - and Mr Bohm and Ms Verheugen pay for their return.

Mr Wang, who is finishing a post-graduate degree in urology at University College London, said at first GBP100 seemed like a lot of money to spend on a toy.

'As a student I don't have much money but I love my teddy and I want him to be happy. It's just so different that I really wanted to do it.

'And then my girlfriend, Michelle, 27, who knew how important it was for me, offered to pay half. So now he's on the way to Munich.

'I haven't told any of my friends or family yet. I think they'll probably call me crazy - to pay to fly my teddy on holiday - but I don't care, it's all good fun and I can't wait to see the pictures.'

Teddy tour guide Mr Bohm says business is booming: 'We launched the idea as a novel way of showing people who cannot come to Munich what our home town looks like.'