Paul Joseph co-founded Health and Fitness Travel in 2010 and creates bespoke luxury holidays that improve people’s well-being to lead happier, healthier lives. We find out the latest travel trends, his top tips for retreats and spas, and what to look out for when booking.
Can you introduce us to Health and Fitness Travel?
Health and Fitness Travel was created in 2010 by myself and Adam Heathcote as a result of our passion to provide healthy holidays that will enhance and change lives. Since opening our Australia office in 2014, Health and Fitness Travel has continued to grow, with clients across the globe booking healthy holidays with us. Our worldwide destinations cover six continents; from solo-friendly fitness holidays in Europe, to couples’ spa breaks in Asia and family sports escapes in the Caribbean, all of our healthy holidays are tailor-made.
How do you go about determining a ‘healthy’ holiday? What are the core components?
A healthy holiday ensures the benefits of the stay are long-term, focussing on providing expert health and lifestyle advice so you return home with the knowledge you need to lead a healthier life.
A healthy holiday should offer an effective fitness, spa and exercise programme, utilising the beach or mountains and the great outdoors – from beach boot camps, to hiking and fabulous yoga schedules – with a good nutritionist and wellness team for support. Specialised programmes such as digestive health, sleep, anti-stress, detox, weight management and fitness should also be an option.
A delicious and healthy choice of food that’s tailored for the client to maintain or lose weight, detox and cleanse – as well as food for the brain and personalised diets – should be offered.
Costa Rica is one of the go-to destinations for 2016… you can combine relaxing yoga classes with invigorating surfing lessons, before unwinding with a luxury spa treatment.
Which countries stand out to you as being the healthiest, and why?
Costa Rica is one of the go-to destinations for 2016, with British Airways launching the first direct flights from London Gatwick to the country’s capital of San Jose in May 2016. This is an emerging destination for coastal wellness retreats, where you can combine relaxing yoga classes with invigorating surfing lessons, before unwinding with a luxury spa treatment. Costa Rica is also a world leader in their eco-friendly approach to tourism, making it a popular destination with green-conscious-travellers in search of a health retreat.
Are there any new ‘healthy holiday’ trends you’re noticing?
We are seeing more bookings for outdoor fitness holidays that focus on getting back to nature and working out in the great outdoors. Making the most of their stunning natural surroundings, these fitness holidays offer everything from jungle gyms, to beach boot camp workouts, hiking in the mountains and guided coastal swimming.
Healthy foodie holidays are in demand with more wellness retreats offering healthy cooking classes and cuisine harvested from their on-site organic farm or garden. With a range of healthy diet and nutrition options at retreats around the world, clients can choose whether they want to pursue an alkaline, Ayurvedic, Macrobiotic or raw food meal plan.
We have also seen a rise in clients looking to combine cultural discovery with wellness recovery when they visit a new country, which is why we designed our Discover Recover™ holidays.
Clients can combine the benefits of exploring differing cultures whilst staying healthy and active. They will experience the country, traditions, mix with the local people and combine their perfect wellness travel experience with the very best in local culture. They then recover afterwards on one of our wellness holidays, so they end their trip with a learned travel experience whilst also feeling totally rejuvenated in mind and body.
Retreats, wellness hotels and leading spas must look ahead of the trends to find a unique offering. They need to know what their clients’ interests are and introduce experiences that go the extra mile.
What would be your top tips for retreats, hotels and spas in appealing to consumers and standing out as particularly exciting and unique?
Retreats, wellness hotels and leading spas must look ahead of the trends to find a unique offering. They need to know what their clients’ interests are and introduce experiences that go the extra mile. They can introduce or create a new exercise class, from surfboard yoga to underwater cycling, a new spa treatment, a different style of yoga or meditation – but make it fun and challenging.
They need to focus on their spa treatment menus and wellness programmes and develop unusual indigenous tropical treatments, allowing guests to experience the local cuisine. With food proven to be a source of healing, spas can work on bespoke healthy menus so they educate their clients. We are living longer lives and are conscious about prolonging our health – so there needs to be an emphasis on preventative ageing and how to increase our longevity.