In this edition of my interview series, I’m chatting with Paul Joseph, a Wellness Travel Expert and co-founder of Health and Fitness Travel, a leader in curating luxury and innovative healthy holidays.
As I mentioned in New Year’s Intentions post, I’m hoping to spend more time traveling this year, discovering new cultures and new ways to live better. So when I heard from Paul and his wellness travel business, I jumped at the chance to interview him – I believe it’s wellness travel is becoming hugely popular and will continue to grow over the next few years.
Health & Fitness Travel pioneers new health programmes that relax the mind, body and soul. Paul himself has grown up around travel, with first-hand experience in the health and tourism industry, consulting with leading hotels on their wellness strategy and contributing regularly to broadcast and media interviews.
Read on if you want to know how best to plan a wellness holiday, eco-tourism and new (and perhaps even scary) advances we’ll soon be seeing everywhere!
1. How did you come to specialise in wellness travel?
Travel and wellness has always had a big influence on my life which started with my mother taking me on spa & wellness trips and experiencing travel at a young age, thanks to her job at the time. Following a car accident at aged 20 which left me with multiple injuries, I took to alternative methods to heal my body where my love of yoga started.
I grew up a dreamer and the dream of creating a wellness hub providing a personalised service that recognised what the true meaning of a wellness holiday is became my motivation and a reality. I had a nagging feeling for years of being in a career that neither inspired nor rewarded me sufficiently. One evening I opened my computer and began to write a plan for the travel company I had dreamt of creating for years; enabling me to realise two of my most important dreams: to work for myself and to enjoy my passion: travel and wellness.
At the time it was easy to book a spa holiday, but not a wellness holiday. There was not a travel company which created bespoke wellness holidays for both men and women, it was important I created something which I knew would grow as more people continue to live a healthy lifestyle. My business partner and I worked obsessively for years, eight years on we have an international business sending thousands of clients away each year to focus on their health and fitness around the world.
2. How have you seen the industry change over the years?
When I launched Health and Fitness Travel in 2010, the term “wellness travel” didn’t really exist. Now wellness tourism is the fastest-booming travel sector, an industry worth £404 billion annually and our current obsession with all things natural and healthy is here to stay; wellness is no longer a trend anymore. With holiday time more precious than ever, stressed-out travellers desire wellness holidays to help them return home healthier. Leading spas are helping people address illness, make life changes and focus on personal wellness goals such as preventative ageing, fitness or weight management.
3. Do you find wellness retreats also operate in an eco-friendlier way?
With more consumers making decisions based on principles as well as product, a lot of our retreats are adapting to the way they operate to accommodate the increase in eco-awareness, as they increase their focus on comfort, ease and luxury without negatively impacting the environment. Consumers are a lot more attracted to the idea of preserving and respecting the local culture and environment as sustainable tourism is a focus of most modern travellers.
4. What are your top tips for booking and enjoying a wellness holiday?
When booking a wellness holiday, make sure to divulge every detail regarding the kind of trip you would like to experience and be open minded about where you go. If you are too vague, you may end up with an experience which is not exactly what you wanted. At Health and Fitness Travel, our mission is to improve lives through wellness travel and inspire our clients with our exceptional range of luxury luxury health and fitness holidays. Our team of Wellness Travel Specialists can tailor-make any holiday to your personal requirements, no request is too big or absurd. When on holiday, it is important to unplug and completely relax, whilst creating incredible, life enhancing experiences. Use this precious time to focus on your happiness and clear your mind so you can return home feeling rejuvenated and back on track.
5. Finally, what are your predictions for the future of wellness travel?
Pre-arrival DNA fitness testing will be an added value service offered to help clients understand their genetic profile, so fitness programmes can then be more tailored to their specific physical ability and nutrition needs. Determining factors of a client’s physical DNA, such as whether someone is highly prone to injury, the decision can then be made whether it is better to push the body with an intense workout or take things easier with low impact activities such as yoga or walking.
Mindfulness is a continually evolving topic but active meditation which relates to activities of everyday life such as walking, working and eating, will be included more in wellness programmes so clients can learn how to experience a meditative state in their everyday life to increase their performance.
You can keep up with Paul via the Health & Fitness Travel website, or by calling 0203 397 8891.