It is usual at this time of year to hear friends talk about their summer holiday plans, but more recently I am hearing more of my friends not just wanting to get away on holiday, but wanting to go on a ‘healthy holiday’ in a beautiful setting to change their eating habits, detox, get fit or just regain a healthy balance.
To find out more about this new trend, I spoke to our new Phenomenal Healthstyle blogger, Paul Joseph, co-founder of Health and Fitness Travel, experts in tailor-made healthy holidays worldwide who told me about his inspiration in setting up his company to cater to this trend and how he helps people to create or find the perfect healthy holiday gem.
What was the inspiration behind starting up Health and Fitness Travel?
I’ve always loved to travel and had an interest in the health and fitness industry. I was never one for fly and flop holidays and always wanted an active and healthy break whilst away. When I used to search on the internet for these types of breaks I’d always find hippy-style yoga retreats and fitness holidays run from someone’s villa which didn’t appeal to me. I’d also find lots of spa holiday websites which would list many general spa resorts. I created Health and Fitness Travel for someone like myself who wants a bit of luxury and the right type of healthy holiday with a bespoke tailor-made experience. I always wanted to create a travel company which would appeal to both women and men, as men don’t want just a spa holiday.
Are you noticing an increase in popularity in the wellness holiday industry?
Yes, we have become more aware of the importance of staying fit and healthy and our holidays reflect this trend. People don’t want to sit on a beach sunning themselves for 10 hours a day; they want to return home with lasting benefits, long after the tan’s faded. Due to our sedentary daily lives which can leave us open to health problems in later life, we want to stay active on holiday and use what time we have to boost our health and well-being.
Healthy-ageing, fitness holidays and wellness holidays are the buzz words. The health and fitness travel trend is being fuelled by aging baby boomers wanting to hold on to their looks and prolong their lifestyle. Travelling for prevention and improving health is why wellness holidays have grown in recent years with a surge of people traveling abroad to stay healthy. Many spa resorts will no longer be positioned as fitness amenities but lifestyle choices offering vegan and gluten-free healthy meal options. The wellness travel industry and consumer needs have evolved from pampered indulgence to personalised, functional health and fitness.
Where are people travelling to the most for their wellness seeking holidays?
During the winter season, people travel mostly to the Far East and Caribbean for winter sun. Destinations such as Morocco, Tenerife and Cyprus are requested too. During the summer months it tends to be Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece with other European destinations that follow.
Is there a particular demographic booking fitness based holidays?
30+ men and women who lead busy lives and are successful business people. They work hard but have little time to focus on their health and fitness, so seek a holiday to rejuvenate and get back in shape. These people see these types of holidays as a necessary part of their lives and invest in their health and well-being. A high proportion of our clients are single travellers and our holidays are perfect for travelling on your own, our male clients look for more fitness based breaks. Like any machine used on a daily basis, our bodies need care and attention to ensure they stay in good working order, so these types of healthy holidays are perfect for a body MOT.
Do you prefer a more robust holiday or one where you can relax with all the treatments attached?
I like to be active on holiday but also want the flexibility to choose what I’d like to do. So one day can be busy with lots of activities and sport from tennis to surfing, and the next day I can relax with a spa treatment and on the beach. Holidays offering tailor-made packages where clients can be flexible are most popular which is why I created our Fusion Fitness holidays to fulfil this need. These healthy holidays allow you to pick and mix from a menu of sport, fitness training, activities and spa treatments as everyone has different interests and goals.
Everyone needs a helping hand to adopt a healthier lifestyle, therefore, which destination would you recommend to those aiming to lose weight and maintain a more balanced way of living?
Longevity Wellness Resort nestled in the green mountains of Monchique has a structured weight management programme that is designed to guide you towards achieving and maintaining your ideal weight. They are also a pioneer in preventative anti-ageing medicine with an extensive timetable of wellness workshops and group activities from yoga and boxing, to nature hiking. The Longevity team will give you the tools and help to aid weight loss, helping you to manage your weight with a healthy diet.
If money was no object what would you do for the rest of your life?
I would look to have a more spiritual lifestyle and train to be a yoga teacher. I’d build my own home overlooking the sea in a warm destination and practice yoga daily. I’d grow all my own healthy food, spend more time with my family, friends and give back to other people.