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

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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

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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

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The European Route of Historic Thermal Towns welcomes new members

The European Route of Historic Thermal Towns (EHTTA), a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe since 2010 has welcomed 3 new members and an International Partner at its first Council meeting of 2022.

There are three new member towns, which are:

  • Lipik, Croatia
  • Telese Terme, Italy
  • Varaždinske Toplice, Croatia

EHTTA also welcomed an International Partner, Poços de Caldas, in Brazil.

EHTTA, which is responsible for managing the European Route of Historic Thermal Towns, is delighted to add two new members in the south-east of Europe, and is hopeful that in the future, more members will join from this part of Europe which is rich in thermal resources and historic thermal towns.

Daruvar has been the only Croatian member of the Route for many years, and two new members, Lipik and  Varaždinske Toplice joining the Croatian part of the Cultural Route will be a great benefit to all three towns.  The Croatian Ministry of Culture is particularly supportive of the Cultural Routes Programme of the Council of Europe, and all 14 routes that cross its territory. In addition, health tourism is strategically important as it represents an important and growing segment of Croatia’s tourism industry.

The addition of Telese Terme as a member town gives the Cultural Route in Italy a boost, and adds to a greater geographical spread, from EHTTA founder members, Acqui Terme and Salsomaggiore Terme, joined by Castrocaro Terme e Terra del Sole and Montegrotto Terme in the North, to Fiuggi, not far from Rome.

Another long-term member of the European Route of Historic Thermal Towns, Montecatini Terme, has recently joined a select group of European spa towns as one of the eleven towns in the Great Spa Towns of Europe, inscribed on the World Heritage List in July 2021, shining a spotlight on spa culture in Italy. Italy is very active in the Cultural Routes Programme, and has held workshops recently for the 30 Routes that cross the territory.

The addition of Poços de Caldas, as an International Partner takes EHTTA global, and cements the connections forged by Portuguese and Spanish members of the European Route of Historic Thermal Towns, notably the cross-border Eurocity, Chaves-Verin.  The Brazilian thermal town has many of the characteristics of a European Historic Thermal Town, with sulphurous waters that are dispensed in many thermal fountains throughout the town.

EHTTA President, Manuel Baltar said: “This partnership with a South American town is particularly welcome in the run-up to the International Thermal Tourism Congress from 27th – 29th September, currently being organised by EHTTA and my own Province of Ourense as part of the UNWTO’s 2022 Affiliate Members Work Programme. I am excited that the Congress will be held shortly before the fair TERMATALIA, in Ourense, Galicia, which has strong connections to thermal towns in South America”.

For further information please contact:

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

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EHTTA Success at the UNWTO Conference in Madrid

Mr Baltar meets Ion Vilcu in Madrid

EHTTA President Mr Baltar meets UNWTO Director of Affiliate Membership Mr Ion Vilcu in Madrid

EHTTA to join the UNWTO Work Programme in 2022 with an International Thermal Tourism Congress

30th November 2021

 

Image: EHTTA President Mr Baltar meets UNWTO Director of Affiliate Membership Mr Ion Vilcu in Madrid

The European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA) has been chosen to take part in the UNWTO’s Affiliate Members Programme of Work 2022, with an International Congress on Thermal Tourism to be held at the end of September 2022.  The Thermal Congress, which will focus on how thermal tourism can contribute to achieving the UN’s sustainable development goals, will be hosted by the Province of Ourense, Galicia, Spain, where the EHTTA President, Mr. José Manuel Baltar Blanco is also the provincial President.

EHTTA, an Affiliate Member of UNTWO since 2019, participated in a global call for proposals for next year’s Programme of Work, and the successful applicants were announced at the UNWTO Conference in Madrid, today, 30th November.  EHTTA’s International Congress on Thermal Tourism is one of a number of initiatives to be co-organised by UNWTO, with the objective of “strengthen(ing) cooperation with the Affiliate Members while helping them enhance their visibility internationally through UNWTO’s global network”.

EHTTA president, José Manuel Baltar Blanco said

“At EHTTA, we are delighted to be given this incredible opportunity to work with global tourism experts at the UNWTO in the creation of this exciting congress in Ourense, next year.  I would like to thank the Director of the UNWTO Affiliate Members, Mr. Ion Vilcu, and Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili for this great honour.

As a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe, and the only Cultural Route to be an Associate Member of the UNWTO, we were delighted to hear recently of the Memorandum of Co-Operation that has been signed between the UNWTO and the European Institute of Cultural Routes.  I am extremely proud that EHTTA’s International Congress on Thermal Tourism will be the first major event to be held in the context of this new co-operation agreement.”

Thermal Tourism is closely connected to the natural and cultural environment, and represents one of the most valuable forms of sustainable tourism. Thermal tourism offers visitors the possibility to use all the attributes of the town for health, well-being, learning, entertainment, socialising and mindfulness (and/or spiritual wellbeing). As a result, thermal tourism is a powerful tool to contribute to safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage as well as to provide socio-economic benefits, including the revitalisation of rural areas and the creation of stable employment and income-earning opportunities.

The timing of the joint UNWTO Congress on Thermal Tourism is perfect for EHTTA:

  1. Europe’s Historic Thermal Towns are perfectly placed to offer exactly what is needed after the pandemic
  2. Just in time for the new year in 2022 the AVE high speed train will connect Ourense with Madrid, building on a tradition started in the 1840s of arriving in thermal towns by train.
  3. The Jacobean Holy Year 2021 was extended into 2022 – Ourense is the perfect place to study new sustainable thermal tourism products and there will be an opportunity to walk the Way of St James as part of the Congress.
  4. In 2022 it will be 200 years since the founding of the Ourense Province, which is now governed by the Deputación de Ourense (Ourense Provincial Council). The Province maintains a strong commitment to thermalism as a tool for sustainable development.

This International Congress on Thermal Tourism builds on earlier initiatives held in Galicia:

  1. the International Congress on Thermal Tourism held in Mondariz (Spain) in 1999 and organised by the World Tourism Organization, Tourspain and the Xunta de Galicia (Associate Member of EHTTA).
  2. the International Congress on Thermal Tourism held in Ourense (Spain) in 2011 organised by the same partners and with the collaboration of the Municipality of Ourense (one of the founding members of EHTTA) and the Government of the Ourense Province (EHTTA Associate member).

 

– ENDS –

 

For further information please contact:

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

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World Water Day and Valuing Water

World Water Day and Valuing Water in our Thermal Towns

22nd March 2021

EHTTA’s President, Mr Baltar today sent a video message to mark World Water Day – one of the days when EHTTA Members celebrate the sources of water at the heart of each of their towns.

As Mr Baltar explained, “The theme for this year’s United Nations World Water Day  is “Valuing Water”, and for us this is perfect!  All the members of our Association, our Cultural Route, are built around water sources.   Our towns all exist because people in the past valued the water enough to build beautiful structures around thermal springs, and find ways to share the healing water with people near and far.  We have always found ways for people to “take the waters” so that they can improve their wellbeing and benefit from this unique source of health.  Our thermal waters,  are a “stream of history from the past to the future”, and we value that connection.”

EHTTA is  celebrating World Water Day this year, and taking up the question posted by the UN in their #Water2Me campaign by finding out what people think and feel about thermal water in the places where they live, or like to visit.   We want to know  what thermal towns were like in the past, what they are like now and how people would like them to be in the future.

Mr Baltar said “For me, the thermal waters of my town and region represent hope for the future.  Hope that we can help to heal the troubles of the last year with our thermal waters, that people can find the space in our towns to relax, recover, recharge their batteries and reconnect with springs that have been a source of wellbeing for so long.”

 To take part in the What’spa Survey in your language please find click  here.

For further information please contact:

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

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

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EHTTA is a Premium Partner at ITB NOW next week!

EHTTA is a Premium Partner at ITB NOW from March 9th – 12th

Find us in the Medical Tourism Pavilion!

 

The European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA), certified as Cultural Route of the Council of Europe, is delighted to be back at ITB NOW in its new digital format for 2021.

This year, EHTTA and the Great Spas of Europe are collaborating once again to promote the fascinating destinations that are the historic thermal towns of Europe – the Association, the Cultural Route of the Council of Europe and the transnational serial nomination to UNESCO.

In 2019 at the last physical ITB to be held, EHTTA had a very positive experience as an exhibitor in the Medical Tourism Pavilion.  This was the first time the spa towns as a network had been at the Medical Pavilion, in partnership with the Great Spas of Europe.

“In 2021, despite the difficulties of the last 12 months for tourism, our Association has such a lot to talk about with visitors to ITB NOW, especially members of the travel media and tour operators”, says Simone Zagrodnik, EHTTA’s Executive Director.
The network will present its new 2021 brochure which includes the very latest member, Bad Ems (also one of the Great Spas of Europe) along with three new leaflets, giving tour operators new itinerary suggestions based on special themes that connect the various historic thermal towns, for example “Spas in Antiquity”, “Therapeutic Landscape” and “Gastronomy”.
“We are also very excited to be working towards our annual celebration of Europe’s water sources on March 22nd, and to be talking about the historic connection between railways and historic spa towns during the European Year of Rail.  We are looking forward to exhibiting at ITB NOW with our partners, the Great Spas of Europe and to making some great connections at this fantastic event.”

 

– ENDS –

 

For further information please contact:

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

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

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EHTTA Supports World Wellness Weekend!

European Historic Thermal Towns Support World Welless Weekend!

For hundreds of years, people have travelled to spa towns across Europe for centuries to use their mineral-rich, healing thermal waters to improve their health. While many spa towns still have medical facilities based around thermal waters to this day, they are also used for wellness in its widest sense. They are places of well-being, and relaxation, partly because over the years, they have become very good at looking after and entertaining visitors. In most spa towns in our network, visitors will find not only thermal baths and drinking fountains but high quality hotels, cultural and artistic venues, parks and gardens, and a generally more relaxed pace!

The European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA) supports World Wellness Weekend on 19th/20th September 2020 together with its members from 18 European countries. EHTTA represents historic thermal towns from Portugal to Estonia via the Peloponnese and beyond, all united in a network which was founded in 2009 and which was certified as a Cultural Route of the Council of Europe in 2010.

“While spa towns are of course associated with the use of water for medicine and health, there are several other elements of the spa town package that fit well with the World Wellness Weekend ‘5 pillars of wellness'” says EHTTA president José Manuel Baltar Blanco. “Some of our members have supported the WWW before and this year we know about planned activities in Georgia, Hungary, Germany and France for example.”
Incorporating one or more of them into your lifestyle is said to “immediately improve your life”, and these are some very simple ways that everyone can enjoy one of Europe‘s spa towns for wellness:
• Sleep and Restoration:
Visit one of our spa hotels for complete rest and relaxation – and don’t be tempted to skip the relaxation session after a day at the spa either – it’s an essential part of the healing process
• Nutrition and Nourishment:
Spa towns often have great locally sourced food and drink – as well as a few alcoholic treats and specialty products which are designed to be part of the cure – such as wafers, Vichy Mints and the „13th spring“ in Karlovy Vary the herbal Becherovka tonic!
Drinking our waters can often be good for health, and can supplement a healthy diet
• Vitality and Movement
Use of parks and gardens within the towns as well as the woods, hills, rivers and likes in the landscape that surround them for fresh air and exercise – walking, cycling, swimming, yoga and other pursuits
• Serenity and Mindfulness
Contemplate life in one of our parks, taking a walk around the historic buildings of the town, or when you’re relaxing in the thermal water
• Purpose and Solidarity
There are often volunteering opportunities in our spa towns – whether as a tour guide or town ambassador, or as a participant in artistic and sporting festivals that take place throughout the year in all our towns.

During the World Wellness Weekend, EHTTA’s social media channels will share the members’ activities in different countries including Georgia, Hungary, Germany, Turkey and France.

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Thermal Architecture Takes Centre Stage in Baden-Baden

Thermal Architecture takes centre stage at European Thermal Heritage Day in Baden-Baden

“Thermal Architecture” will be the subject of the third European Thermal Heritage Day organised by the European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA), on 16th October 2020.  It will be a virtual conference hosted in Baden-Baden, and will be streamed through the Association’s social media channels (see below).

EHTTA’s President, José Manuel Baltar Blanco said “European Thermal Heritage Day is one of the main highlights of the EHTTA calendar, and although we are unable to meet in person in Baden-Baden, we are delighted that the event is still being hosted in this wonderful city, and that EHTTA members will still be able to take a virtual tour of the Thermal Architecture in Baden-Baden.”

“Baden-Baden embodies a centuries-old spa tradition, which has its roots in Roman times”, says Margret Mergen, Lord Mayor of the host town, Baden-Baden.  “It is the meeting point of a long history and timeless lifestyle connected to the spa town’s thermal heritage. We are looking forward to hosting the first digital European Thermal Heritage Day and to a joint celebration our shared European heritage, as well as to exchanging best practises which raise awareness of the significance of Thermal Architecture.”

Paul Simons, President of EHTTA’s Scientific Committee, which organises European Thermal Heritage Day, and Secretary General of the Great Spas of Europe will be presenting the concept of Thermal Architecture in Europe with the Committee’s Vice President, Mario Crecente.  He said “Thermal Architecture is a fascinating subject – it is the collection of buildings that hold and distribute the healing thermal waters that are at the heart of our historic thermal spa towns. It also encompasses the buildings that housed and entertained those who came to ‘take the waters’.  Together these buildings make up a very special and distinctive heritage, which is part of a shared European culture, and worthy of more recognition and protection.”

EHTTA is very pleased to welcome several distinguished guests to introduce this special day:

  • Margret Mergen, Lord Mayor of Baden-Baden
  • Dr. Claus Wolf, Head of State Office for Cultural Heritage Baden-Württemberg
  • Birgitta Ringbeck, Member of Board of Directors, European Institute of Cultural Routes and Chair of the Governing Board, Enlarged Partial Agreement on Cultural Routes (Council of Europe)
  • Stefano Dominioni, President, European Institute of Cultural Routes (Council of Europe)

It is also our pleasure to have Dr. Andreas Förderer, World Heritage and Tourism expert, from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Karlsruhe, as an eminent panellist presenting the evolution and significance of thermal architecture in Baden-Baden.

The roundtable discussion, moderated by Prof. Dr. Jörg Haspel (President, ICOMOS Germany) will focus on “Managing Thermal Architecture and Generating Community Support”, and will include panellists with experience of initiating and managing  a wide range of thermal architecture projects, including Site Managers of some of the component parts of UNESCO transnational serial World Heritage nomination “Great Spas of Europe (GSE)”.

The panellists are:

  • Anke Matthys, GSE WHS Site Manager, Vichy (France)
  • Lucie Sochorková, GSE WHS Site Manager, Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic)
  • Lisa Poetschki, Head of Department of World Heritage Nomination and Urban Design, Baden-Baden (Germany)
  • Hans-Peter Mengele, Chairperson, Friends of the Lichtentaler Allee – Initiative World Cultural Heritage – e.V., Baden-Baden (Germany)
  • Anna Baker, Project Director, Cleveland Pools, Bath (UK)

Full details of how to attend European Thermal Heritage Day online are can be found here.   It will also be streamed on the Association’s  Facebook page, Thermal Travels, and on LinkedIn.

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Pandemic as an opportunity for Thermal Tourism discussed in Ourense

EHTTA President Manuel Baltar sets the scene for International Congress

The first International Congress on Water and Health took place at Termatalia in Ourense on 16th and 17th September. Because of the pandemic it was in a different format to the planned event in Argentina, but still it brought together fifty international speakers and an audience of over 500 from 30 countries. The 20th edition of Termatalia proved that it’s possible to reinvent a trusted format and to adapt to new conditions.

EHTTA President, Manuel Baltar, who also chairs the Termatalia Advisory Committee was one of the introductory speakers at Termatalia, and was keen to express the importance of thermal water in regions such as his own Province of Ourense, and the opportunity that it represents, particularly if public and private bodies collaborate to deliver thermalism projects – services, infrastructure, tourism and health can all benefit. His message at this difficult time for the whole world was a clear one: “Water is life, but thermal water is health. In spas we talk about well-being, relaxation, rest and, above all, of the properties that mineral-medicinal waters have for health, something that in these times takes on a fundamental role and is a strength for our thermal territories “

Simone Zagrodnik, EHTTA’s Executive Director joined the Congress from her office in Wiesbaden to talk about “The pandemic as an opportunity to rediscover thermal towns”. SHe spoke about how there is a new chance for spa towns to be
re-discovered and enjoyed by visitors. One reason is that big cities are associated with crowds of people, little space, and a hectic lifestyle, whereas many of our spa towns are smaller and have space, green parks and surroundings, relaxation, well-being, and a slower pace of life. New tourism trends suggest that people prefer to discover places nearby and/or in their own country, and are keen to find out what spa towns offer which is a combination of thermal waters, health, wellness, treatments, prevention and rehabilitation – something which all together adds up to a new concept of “Healthness”.