Spa Business 3 2023

Page 12

ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL

Our vision in launching Spa Business was to globalise the spa market

THE STORY OF

T

hese days, the Spa Business team spend the year travelling the world, (increasingly by train) talking to industry experts to bring you the 30 Spa Business and Spa Business insider magazines we produce every 12 months, as well as the annual Spa Business Handbook, our website and news and social feeds. But this vast scope of work has taken decades to develop and we’ve had the privilege of having grown up with the industry from very small beginnings. As we celebrate 40 years of writing about spa and wellness and 20 years of Spa Business as a dedicated title, it’s an opportunity to look back at how all these wonderful and useful products came to be.

SMALL BEGINNINGS I started work for Leisure Media as a junior business reporter in 1983. These were days before desktop computing, mobile phones, the internet, social media and AI. We worked on typewriters until the magical day in 1990 when desktop publishing on Apple Macs changed our lives forever. 12 spabusiness.com issue 3 2023

PHOTO: JACK EMMERSON

Spa Business editorial director, Liz Terry, tells the story of how a promise made in the 1980s led to the founding of the magazine in 2003

We had been a complete leisure publisher from launch in 1980 and my brief covered all sectors – sport, spa, health and fitness, tourism, hospitality, attractions, commercial leisure – anything (legal) you could do in your spare time. It was thin pickings in those days, restaurants were a rare indulgence, pubs and bars were male-dominated, short break holidays had yet to be invented, gyms were for weight lifters and sport was ‘PE’. Spas were ancient thermal baths or ‘health farms’ where the wealthy went to lose weight or get dry. Demographics told us leisure would grow and diversify, but we had no idea how world events, technology and politics would define its future. The plan was to cover it all in one magazine – Leisure Management – until the vertical markets could support dedicated titles. Health and fitness was the first to boom in the mid 80s, so we spun off a magazine called Health Club Management – now HCM – and today we’re the main global media for that sector (www.HCMmag.com). Spa came a little later, but to tell that story I need to go back to the beginning.

FIRST JOB I lucked out with my first assignments covering the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and going on a series of educational press trips around Switzerland, Italy, Austria, France and Germany, visiting spas. These trips were organised by a formidable woman called Erna Low, an Austrian who had

PHOTO: JACK EMMERSON

Spa Business


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