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:           

Catherine Lloyd, Communications, Projects, Support

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:           

Catherine Lloyd, Communications, Projects, Support


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:

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.

– 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