EHTTA wins Best Practice Award

Cultural Routes Best Practices Award 2022 for “Thermal Travels” campaign

Download the full press release in English here

Cultural Routes Best Practices Award 2022 for “Thermal Travels” campaign 

Last Friday, at the 11th Annual Advisory Forum of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe in Chania, Crete (Greece), the European Route of Historic Thermal Towns received the “Best Practices Award 2022” for its “Thermal Travels” promotion campaign. The Board of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe (EPA) has recognised best practices implemented by certified routes, which have been drawing attention to the priority fields of action of the programme, one of them being the promotion of Europe’s shared cultural heritage.

 

In the early summer the European Route of Historic Thermal Towns ran an online awareness-raising and promotional campaign with the motto “Thermal Travels – Immerse yourself in the spa culture of Europe” in central European countries and North America. The campaign was co-funded by the European Travel Commission and put this Cultural Route in the spotlight, inviting people to discover the spa towns in Europe as a transnational tourism product and as part of visiteurope’s approach of “inviting the curious”.

“I would like to thank the Board of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes for this prestigious award”, said EHTTA President Manuel Baltar, “I am proud of the fact that the Historic Thermal Towns have received this prestigious award for a second time. The story of the historic thermal towns of Europe is woven into the story of Europe and its people. It is part of Europe’s shared memory, culture and traditions, and as a Cultural Route
of the Council of Europe its cultural heritage is recognised and celebrated. We are working on raising the awareness for this, in Europe and abroad and this is why we truly appreciated the opportunity to co-operate with the European Travel Commission for the first time”, he explains.

 

The range of activities in the framework of the Thermal Travels campaign included a collaboration with FITReisen, a leading tour operator in health travel, who promoted the historic thermal towns on its German-speaking and French-speaking website and  channels.


Three writers and influencers from the US visited France, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic and Greece, with impressive outcomes: resulting in online articles on vogue.com, various newspaper and travel platforms, plus the reach of the influencers focused on wellbeing and spa travel.

 

“This campaign let us target people interested in cultural travel, with an interest to discover smaller, less known destinations and surprise them. Travellers who look for quality rather than quantity, demanding authentic experiences throughout their trip – from accommodation to gastronomy and excursions – have been addressed with an additional aspect: the one of wellbeing and health-related travel”, explained Simone Zagrodnik, EHTTA Executive Director.

 

The Thermal Travels Campaign of the European Route of Historic Thermal Towns was also supported by the Great Spa Towns of Europe, a UNESCO world heritage site since 2021. All eleven towns united in this prestigious group are also members of the European Route of Historic Thermal Towns. 

 

– ENDS –

 

Download the full press release in English here.

For further information please contact:
Simone Zagrodnik, EHTTA Executive Director:                     simone.zagrodnik@ehtta.eu
Catherine Lloyd, Communications, Projects, Support         communications@ehtta.eu
 

EHTTA signing the Memorandum of Understanding in Madrid

EHTTA Signs Memorandum of Understanding with UNWTO

Download the full press release in English here

EHTTA signs Memorandum of Understanding with UNWTO in Madrid 

The 5th September was a significant day for the future development of thermal tourism, as EHTTA President, José Manuel Baltar Blanco met with representatives of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) in Madrid, to sign an official Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations.

 

The European Historic Thermal Towns Association is an Affiliate Member of UNWTO, and significantly, is the only Cultural Route of the Council of Europe to be associated with UNWTO.

 

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been developed to enhance cooperation between UNWTO and EHTTA. The MoU means that EHTTA and UNWTO will cooperate closely and consult one another on matters of mutual interest in order to achieve their common objectives, which include:

 

*  The promotion of strategies and mechanisms to further develop the contribution of wellness and thermal tourism to the whole sector.

 

*  The exchange of knowledge and good practices aimed to raise awareness on the importance of the spa industry.

 

*  The development of a partnerships between the public and private sectors to exchange experiences at the European level and contribute to the recovery of the tourism sector.

 

EHTTA is delighted to be working with the UNWTO as part of its work package in 2022, developing and running the International Congress on Thermal Tourism, which will take place in Ourense at the end of September.  The Congress, hosted by the Province of Ourense, of which Mr Baltar is also the President, and will attract over 300 delegates, to hear speakers who are joining the Congress from around the globe.

 

 

Speaking in Madrid, Mr Baltar said:

               “The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding between UNWTO and the European Historic Thermal Towns Association is a huge step forward for the whole thermal sector, not just for our own historic thermal spa towns but for thermal destinations in general, and the whole
ecosystem of heath, wellness and thermal tourism.  EHTTA brings an extra dimension too, with its member towns and regions, which not only developed because of the existence thermal and mineral water springs, but which have been in existence for hundreds and even thousands of years, welcoming visitors who came to take the waters and providing them with healing for body, mind and spirit – a tradition which continues to this day.  Our towns are cultural and heritage destinations as well as health and wellness resorts, and I firmly believe that they deserve to be valued and understood more widely, especially as we recover from the pandemic. 

 

As President of EHTTA, I am very pleased to be working with the UNWTO towards a future mutual understanding and benefit, exchanging experiences and best practices, and making this incredible thermal tourism sector in Europe better known on the world stage.  This is a huge honour for EHTTA, and I am happy to sign the Memorandum of understanding on behalf of thermal towns and regions in our Association.”

 

Mr Baltar was accompanied to Madrid by the President of the Xunta di Galicia, Mr Alfonso Rueda.  Galicia is not only an important thermal
region, but also one of the most famous pilgrimage destinations in the world.  The Way of St James, the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela was the first Cultural Route to be certified by the Council of Europe in 1987, and, with the European Route of Historic Thermal Towns and other Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe has a long pedigree in welcoming tourists who travel for their wellbeing and health, be that of body or spirit.

The opportunity was taken to link the Memorandum of Understanding to the International Congress on Thermal Tourism in September, organised with the Participation of the UNWTO, as not only is the host a thermal province, based in a thermal town, but the wider region, Galicia is famous for being a thermal province, with many small spa towns and destinations, and a region where Cultural Routes cross in a rich tapestry of heritage and culture.

 

For his part, the President of the Xunta, Alfonso Rueda, stressed that Galicia “is the first thermal power in Spain and the second in Europe, with authentic destinations such as Ourense”. He also pointed out that this remarkable thermal town is one of the main assets of the quality tourist offer of the autonomous community, which this year is breaking all visitor records thanks to “the indisputable pull of the double Xacobeo”.

 

 

More details about the International Thermal Congress, taking place in Ourense from 27th to 29th September 2022, can be found at https://thethermalcongress.com. It will be linked to the 20th TERMATALIA Fair of Thermal Tourism, Health and Wellness. 

 

– ENDS –

 

Download the full press release in English here.

 

For further information please contact:

Simone Zagrodnik, EHTTA Executive Director:                     simone.zagrodnik@ehtta.eu

Catherine Lloyd, Communications, Projects, Support         communications@ehtta.eu

 

Notes to Editors:

1.     EHTTA is a membership organisation representing nearly 50 members in 17
countries. 

2.     EHTTA was certified as a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe in 2010 and is one of 48 Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe which provide a wealth of leisure and educational activities for all citizens across Europe and beyond and are key resources for responsible tourism and sustainable development. The certification “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” is a guarantee of excellence.  

3.      EHTTA was founded in 2009 with six Founding Members: Acqui Terme (Italy), Bath (UK), Ourense (Spain), Salsomaggiore Terme (Italy), Spa (Belgium) and Vichy (France).

EHTTA Thermal Congress Cover Image

International Thermal Tourism Congress in September in Ourense.

Download the full press release in English here.

Téléchargez le communiqué de presse complet en français ici.

THE Thermal Congress: Tourism, Heritage, Experience  

The European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA) is organising an “International Congress on Thermal Tourism” with the participation of the UNWTO (United Nations
World Tourism Organization).  The Congress, hosted by the Province of Ourense (Deputación de Ourense) and Ourense Council,
with the support of the Galicia Region (Xunta de
Galicia) will run from 27th to 29th September 2022 in Ourense.

 

EHTTA, which is also a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe was delighted to be included in the UNWTO’s work programme for 2022, and with this prestigious Congress, will be reaching a global audience to examine the phenomenon of “thermal tourism”.  Three major themes will run through the Congress:  Tourism, Heritage, and Experience.

 

EHTTA is delighted to announce that Her Majesty Queen Sofía of Spain is the Patron of the Congress Honorary Committee, where all supporting institutions and associations
are represented (see detailed list below). There will also be a very special guest to start the proceedings on the first morning – Andriy Kulchynsky, Mayor of Truskawez (also known as Truskavets), a famous spa resort in Ukraine, close to the Polish border, which dates back to the 15th century. 

 

Opening with a special event on UNWTO World Tourism Day (27th September) and connecting to Termatalia (the bi-annual thermal fair in Ourense), the Congress is designed to be a celebration of thermalism and tourism and the combination of the two.

 

The President of the Province of Ourense, and EHTTA President, Manuel Baltar said: 

“The experience and enthusiasm of EHTTA members in this area (Galicia Region, Province of Ourense, and Ourense Council) and the fact that there has not been a “thermal tourism” congress for a few years was part of the inspiration and impetus behind the application to the UNWTO Affiliate Members Department for their support in developing THE Thermal Congress.  As President of Ourense Government and the President of EHTTA I am delighted to be able to welcome delegates to Ourense in September, truly the “main thermal province” of Spain, and Europe during this time!

 

I am also excited about the timing of the Congress, in the 200th Anniversary year of the Province of Ourense and the Holy Year of the “Camino de
Santiago”, Xacobeo 2021-2022.
  This has given us the inspiration to invite delegates to take part in a “thermal camino” – a combination of thermal tourism and pilgrimage, which delegates can experience for the benefit of body, mind and spirit, for a few days before or after the congress.

We also have a new connection to Madrid with the High Speed AVE train, dramatically cutting journey times, and with sustainability in mind, I hope that delegates will consider arriving by train as well as by air.”

 

European Historic Thermal Towns’ members present best practices

One particular highlight within the congress programme will be a “thermal evening event” at the Outariz Spa, on the outskirts of Ourense. That evening the so-called “Bathrobe Addicts” (originally “Les Across du Peignoir” in their native France) will be seen for the first time in Ourense.  EHTTA Member “La Route des Villes d’Eaux du Massif Central”, where this movement originated, successfully launched this promotional brand and movement five years ago, and it was also adopted by the Belgian thermal town of Spa two years later. Now, in 2022, the Bathrobe Addicts “go international” and will be introduced and presented in Ourense.

 

Workshops and discussions with key partners
On the second day of the Congress, delegates have the opportunity to join workshops featuring important partners of Historic Thermal Towns: the network of the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe and the European Travel Commission. A third workshop is dedicated to European funding for tourism. The afternoon will also include the opportunity to learn more about the implementation of certain projects and strategies from around
the world.

For more information and to register for the Congress, go to www.thethermalcongress.com.

– ENDS –

 

Download the full press release in English here.

Téléchargez le communiqué de presse complet en français ici.


For further information please contact:

Simone Zagrodnik, EHTTA Executive Director:                     simone.zagrodnik@ehtta.eu

Catherine Lloyd, Communications, Projects, Support         communications@ehtta.eu

 

Organizer and Host
European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA)
Deputación de Ourense (Ourense Province)

Supporting Institutions and Associations

UNWTO United Nations World Tourism Organisation, Affiliate Members Department
Galicia Region (Xunta de Galicia)
Ourense Municipality
TERMATALIA International Fair of Thermal Tourism, Health and Wellness
Great Spa Towns of Europe Association
Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe
European Spa Association (ESPA)
International Society of Medical Hydrology and Climatology (ISMH)

 

Notes to Editors:

1.     EHTTA is a membership organisation representing nearly 50 members in 17
countries. 

2.     EHTTA was certified as a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe in 2010 and is one of 48 Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe which provide a wealth of leisure and educational activities for all citizens across Europe and beyond and are key resources for responsible tourism and sustainable development. The certification “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” is a guarantee of excellence.  

3.      EHTTA was founded in 2009 with six Founding Members: Acqui Terme (Italy), Bath (UK), Ourense (Spain), Salsomaggiore Terme (Italy), Spa (Belgium) and Vichy (France).

EHTTA's new Vice Presidents

EHTTA Elects new Vice-Presidents

EHTTA Elects new Vice Presidents

At its General Assembly, held last week in Caldes de Montbui (Spain), the European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA) elected a new Council, and Board for a term of 4 years.  These bodies, made up from the membership, are the decision-making groups within the Association.

 

President Manuel Baltar was re-elected for a period of 4 years, along with Vice Presidents, Lorenzo Lucchini and Éric Brut.  Three new Vice Presidents were also elected from the EHTTA Council, and together they will work on a day-to-day basis with Simone Zagrodnik the Executive Director.

 

The Board Members, old and new are:

President:           Mr José Manuel Baltar Blanco, Province of Ourense, Spain

Vice Presidents :

Mr Éric Brut, Route des Villes d’Eaux du Massif Central, France

Mr Markos Danas, Hellenic Association of Municipalities with Thermal Springs, Greece

Mrs Isabelle Grégoire, Spa, Belgium

Mr Victor Leal, São Pedro do Sul, Portugal

Mr Lorenzo Lucchini, Acqui Terme, Italy

 

Speaking after the General Assembly, Mr Baltar said,

“I am absolutely delighted to have been re-elected as the EHTTA President for the next 4 years, and I am looking forward to working with the new Board.  This year we are looking forward to 2 major partnerships with the ETC and UNWTO, and it will be an important year for our Association.  I would like to congratulate the new Board members, and to wish them well in their new roles as EHTTA Vice Presidents.”

– ENDS –

 

For further information please contact:

Simone Zagrodnik, EHTTA Executive Director:                     simone.zagrodnik@historicthermaltowns.eu

Catherine Lloyd, Communications, Projects, Support         communications@historicthermaltowns.eu

Portalera thermal laundry

Café of Europe and General Assembly in Caldes de Montbui

EHTTA’s General Assembly and the Café of Europe in Caldes de Montbui

The European Historic Thermal Towns Association is holding it’s first General Assembly of 2022 in Caldes de Montbui, a thermal town just outside Barcelona in Catalunya, with impressive Roman baths and a thermal tradition that reaches beyond the confines of the thermal baths.  The diversity of thermal products and uses for the thermal waters, which give rise to the slogan of the town “el poble que bull” is the reason that the town is also hosting a seminar on 4th May, the Café of Europe, on “Thermal Villages: Opportunities for Rural Development” at the Portalera Thermal Laundry and streamed live online.

At the General Assembly on 5th May, EHTTA members will welcome several new members from Italy, Croatia and a new International Partner in Brazil, taking the Association’s membership to over 50 full and Associate Members in nearly 20 countries.

Members are also expected to discuss and continue to plan two exciting major developments, taking place in conjunction with two of the most important tourism organisations, the European Travel Commission (ETC)/Visit Europe, and the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

Manuel Baltar, President of the European Historic Thermal Towns Association said:

“2022 is a hugely exciting year for EHTTA, with two major events taking place with the support and participation of major organisations, giving our visibility and voice a major boost at an important time for our historic thermal towns.  We are delighted to be working on a major promotional campaign across Europe and in the United States, called “Thermal Travels, Immerse Yourself in the Spa Culture of Europe”, which will run until the end of June.  This campaign will invite travellers to find out more about the waters, the cultural events and the heritage and landscape that mark our towns as being unique health-giving and sustainable destinations – perfect for the post-pandemic era”.

Mr Baltar continued,

“As the Governor of the Ourense Province, I am also immensely proud that the UNWTO will be participating and supporting the International Congress on Thermal Tourism, being held in Ourense at the end of September, with a programme that starts on World Tourism Day and runs alongside Termatalila.  Tourism, Heritage and Experience, the three major themes of the Congress will be discussed with speakers and panellists from thermal destinations around the globe.

With new members, and several major projects giving EHTTA members much more visibility in Europe and North America, I am excited for 2022 and beyond.  I feel that we all have a renewed sense of purpose after the pandemic and during the energy and climate crisis to show our towns as sustainable, safe and healthy destinations that actively support wellbeing in general, and look forward to thermalism once again having the recognition that it deserves.”

The Mayor of Caldes de Montbui, Mr Isidre Pineda added:

“We are delighted to be hosting the Café of Europe and the EHTTA General Assembly in Caldes de Montbui, which has become a “European thermal capital” for the next three days.  We are especially pleased to be able to show our fellow members some of the many imaginative uses we have for our thermal waters, and to hold the Café of Europe in the newly-restored Portalera Laundry.  In Caldes de Montbui we are very proud of our architecture, thermal heritage and traditions, gastronomy and cultural heritage, and we are looking forward to the increased visibility we can give to our town as hosts of these prestigious European events.”

Delegates will be able to enjoy several cultural events and experiences during the programme, including Lluís Robisco, an internationally renowned guitarist who will welcome guests with his guitar playing, and  Esther Tenedor, local painter and multidisciplinary artist who will paint a picture during the gala dinner hosted by the Municipality and which will be given to EHTTA as a gift.

– ENDS –

 

For further information please contact:

Simone Zagrodnik, EHTTA Executive Director:                     simone.zagrodnik@historicthermaltowns.eu

Catherine Lloyd, Communications, Projects, Support         communications@historicthermaltowns.eu

IMG_0891

Historic Thermal Towns celebrate their water sources on World Water Day

Every year at Historic Thermal Towns we celebrate the United Nations World Water Day on 22nd March.  It’s a time when our water sources, at the centre of each of our thermal spa towns and thermal regions are celebrated and promoted with talks, tours, concerts and events. Some of the highlights this year include:

  • Baden bei Wien, Austria – guided tours to explore the sources of “yellow gold” and fantastic bathing stories and tell you about the bathing culture, as well as the launch of some new tourism products.
  • Budapest in Hungary is launching online quizzes and surveys on the 22nd and then putting on free guided tours with a prize draw to the famous baths – Széchenyi, Gellért, Rudas, and Lukács as well as mineral water tasting tours. In all nearly 200 people will be able to take part on these tours.
  • Caldas da Rainha, Portugal, is holding a special concert and will be opening restored historic fountains.
  • Ourense, Spain is running two main activities. Popular free water yoga lessons held Tues to Sun at the just-reopened thermal spaces of Outariz and Burga de Canedo.  Also on March 22nd, local tourist guides will be offering three free tours around the hot springs of As Burgas, explaining the importance of water sources (and underground waters) in the history of Ourense. 
  • In São Pedro do Sul, in Portugal, there’s a whole day of free activities that includes a guided walk, films about the water origin and its importance and, a guided tour to the natural spring and geothermal system and a thermal experience.
  • One of our newest members, Varaždinske Toplice has organised a concert at the archeological site AQUAE IASAE in the old Roman Basilicum. First Ode to Joy (written in Baden bei Wien) will be played by brass section from Music School Varazdin and afterwards jazz duo- guitar and saxophone- will play jazz classics.
  • Wiesbaden, Germany – World Water Day talks and tours kick off a whole year of celebrating a Year of Water. A new statue of a spear, representing the founding myth of Wiesbaden will also be unveiled on World Water Day.

The United Nation’s theme for World Water Day this year is “Groundwater, making the invisible visible”.  Almost all of the liquid fresh water in the world is groundwater.  It is everywhere but in many places it is overexploited, leading to ground shrinkage, and water shortage and insecurity for local communities.

Mr José Manuel Baltar Blanco, President of EHTTA said:

“While we celebrate our thermal water springs it is difficult not to be reminded millions of people do not have good access to clean stable water sources, for drinking, sanitation, food production and industrial processes.  We are also mindful of the thousands of people in the Ukraine and other areas affected by war and conflict that cannot access clean water.

However we can’t be complacent about our water sources, and we need to keep discussing the sustainable use of thermal water resources and thermal energy from our water sources so that we innovate to ensure that our thermal towns and regions are attractive sustainable destinations.”

See Mr Baltar’s World Water Day message here:  https://youtu.be/L-GHC099jPs

A short survey is available to complete this year (What’Spa).  It was developed to find out what local people think about their spa town in the past, present and future, as well as what thermal water means to them. It has been created in Microsoft Forms in all the languages of the Association, and can be taken in about 5 minutes by people of all ages.   https://historicthermaltowns.eu/world-water-day/

– ENDS –

Press release: 22 03 22 World Water Day – Historic Thermal Towns Celebrate their water sources

For further information please contact:

Simone Zagrodnik, EHTTA Executive Director:                     simone.zagrodnik@ehtta.e