The Route of Spa Towns in the Massif Central and EHTTA at the 25th Forum of Cultural Routes in Colmar

EHTTA was present at the Council of Europea Annual Advisory Forum of Cultural Routes, held in Colmar, France between 22-23 November 2012. The Forum was attended by around 130 people, representing the 24 certified routes and new projects, member states of the Enlarged Partial Agreement, other international organisations (EU, UNESCO, UNWTO, OECD), NGOs, local and regional authorities, universities and professionals in the cultural tourism sector.

The European Route of Historic Thermal Towns was introduced to the public by the EHTTA delegated, along with the cooperation experience developed by the Route of Spa Towns of Massif Central, EHTTA Associate Member. The network presented also new projects to be developed and participated in the four four workshops on international cooperation, governance, new technologies and methodologies and regional development.

The Forum achieved some great results, which were proposed in a draft “Colmar Declaration” aimed to mark 25 years of existence of the Council of Europe’s cultural routes programme and to set out some clear goals for the future.

Presentations – related documents

L’Itinéraire Européen des Villes Thermales Historiques au Salon Européen du Patrimoine Culturel

L’Itinéraire Européen des Villes Thermales Historiques sera présent au prestigieux Salon International du Patrimoine Culturel au Carrousel du Louvre du 8 au 11 novembre (stand A24)

Le Salon International du Patrimoine Culturel est une nouvelle occasion pour présenter l’Itinéraire Européen des Villes Thermales Historiques au public.

Dans le cadre du Programme conjoint Commission Européenne et Conseil de l’Europe sur les Itinéraires Culturels, l’Institut Européen des Itinéraires Culturels participe au Salon International du Patrimoine Culturel qui se tient du 8 au 11 novembre à Paris au Carrousel du Louvre. Formidable synergie entre tous les acteurs du patrimoine, le salon se concentre
cette année sur le patrimoine éco-responsable. L’Itinéraire européen des Villes Thermales sera présenté sur le stand
A24 avec le Conseil de l’Europe, l’Institut Européen des Itinéraires Culturels et d’autres itinéraires culturels.

Les itinéraires culturels: source d’une nouvelle forme de développement du tourisme

Lors du Salon International du Patrimoine Culturel, le 9 novembre à 10h30 (Salle Delorme), l’Institut Européen des
Itinéraires Culturels, en collaboration avec le Conseil de l’Europe, la Commission Européenne et le Ministère de la Culture,
organise l’atelier : « Les itinéraires culturels: source d’une nouvelle forme de développement du tourisme ».
Alors que le patrimoine culturel est de plus en plus considéré comme une nouvelle forme de marchandise – un bien
culturel, les méthodes de gestion du patrimoine évoluent pour intégrer de nouveaux éléments pour aider les
communautés locales à tirer davantage de bénéfices de leur patrimoine culturel. Ces éléments viennent souvent d’un
nouveau genre de tourisme respectueux de l’environnement, du patrimoine naturel et culturel et des traditions locales.
Cette séance offrira un aperçu des éléments de développement durable et respectueux pour la gestion du patrimoine
culturel, tels qu’ils sont développés et intégrés dans la gestion et l’évaluation des Itinéraires Culturels du Conseil de

L’Itinéraire Européen des Villes Thermales Historiques interviendra lors de cette conférence avec les deux autres
itinéraires invités à savoir les Chemins de Saint-Jacques de Compostelle et la Route de la Céramique.

Communiqué de presse EHTTA – Salon Européen du Patrimoine Culturel.pdf

Powerpoint – Salon Euro du patrimoine EHTTA.pdf

Press release EHTTA European Heritage Show.pdf

Texte EHTTA Salon Euro patrimoine EN.pdf

Texte EHTTA Salon Euro patrimoine FR.pdf


25 thermal towns choose their european strategy in Bath

Looking back into history, water cures are linked to religious ceremonies. That which is true of the Greeks, celebrating their athletes is also true of the Romans who spread the practice from the center of Italy throughout the entire Empire. The idea of the purifying nature of thermal baths can also be found in Andalusian Spain, under the influence of the Arab-Berber world, and in the Ottoman Empire whose
influence can be seen in Budapest. But it was not until the 18th century up to the beginning of 20th centurythat the most well-known sites were built, where new medical treatments were developed based on the bath, the absorption of water and the manipulation of the body.

The spas of Western and Central Europe have long been frequented by the political and cultural elite, creating centres of cultural exchanges in numerous cities and it could be said that they launched health tourism as a form of modern tourism. These celebrities were at the origin of the prestigious image of these resorts and gave birth to a great success which generated prestigious hotels and a series of leisure activities, with people going from the first casinos to musical theatres, to landscape gardens and promenades where tourists could show off the latest fashions.

This is the story, but also the shared heritage and memory that the European Historical Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA) decided to promote and valorize when inaugurating a European cultural route which received the prestigious certification of the Council of Europe in year 2010.


The general Assembly of this Association took place in Bath, United Kingdom on 21 and 22 March

This thermal city, one of the highlight destinations in England with a constant increase of tourists, offers a remarkable unity in the Georgian architectural style, and the entire City has now been a World Heritage Site for 25 years. The Roman Baths which have been rediscovered and perfectly restored attract some one million visitors year.

Bath is not only known for its prestigious heritage but also for its innovation in new technologies. It of course helps visitors interact in their visits. But innovation means also constant improvement in water quality and pumping techniques” said the Leader of Bath&North East Somerset Council, Cllr Paul Crossley.

At this strategic meeting, a series of decisions were made in order to firmly settle a successful common communication policy: design of a web platform to achieve better exchanges between members, creation of a common leaflet and launching of a Facebook page, among others. Beyond that, the Association, on the basis of a previous co-operation of some of its member cities, will answer a multiannual cultural call for proposals from the European Commission next October. It will aim to improve communication towards public at large, to create a Festival of festivals with a series of events: theatre, cinema or musical shows, contemporary art exhibitions and encounters of travel diaries’ writers. It will also focus on professional training of guides who act also as actors during visits, sharing best experiences in building restorations and establishing a research and resource center. Another aim is to help small and medium enterprises working in craft industries linked to gifts and souvenirs to adopt a contemporary design line.

The lively development of the high society of thermal towns brought a perspective to the European interpretation of societies which succeeded each other in thermal cities. Joseph II, after his stay in 1781,named Spa the “Café of Europe”. The Association plans to benefit from some the best Congress Centres of the member cities to launch a kind of “Davos European Cultural Forum” travelling from one city to another along the year. These encounters with personalities who exist in a shared European history and memory, as well as in the future of common European identity should attract various categories of visitors and bring to life, in a democratic and contemporary approach, the very origin of cultural Grand Tour.

Christian Corne, deputy Mayor of Vichy and President of the EHTTA announced his optimistic convictions about the quality and future developments of a network which now involves nine European countries. He insisted on the great potential of increase, especially in Greater Europe. “We have received proposals from cities in Turkey and Armenia” he said. “The great chance for our members is certainly the rapid changes that occur today for thermal cities. The future will be based on a Europe without borders. Europeans could choose the place for their care in the country they prefer, but tourists will also face new offers in a Union of Countries which will benefit of a quality policy and common branding “Destination Europe” keeping the continent at first rank in the world.”

His conclusions underlined that the strategy of the network will have to closely link health and tourism and that the actions have to be based on four pillars:

  • A diversification of wellbeing offers in a new dynamic vision of water cures and on a renewedapproach of quality gastronomy involving local producers
  • An interactive valorization of thermal heritage, of prestigious buildings, as well as of the immaterial
    heritage carried by creators and intellectuals who were iconic to the resorts;
  • A contemporary and innovative answer to cultural demands not only those of adults but also for youngsters through actions which will help a better understanding of the past and a vivid involvement of contemporary creation;
  • a proactive policy facing needs of new cultural and multi-sensorial tourism’s trends based on active visits in search of lesser-known places and unusual events.”


He ended by the assertion: “If we want to deserve and challenge the prestigious label of the Council of
Europe we certainly have to involve innovation on all fronts.”






International days of thermalism 16 – 18 November 2011

Rencontres nationales du ThermalismeEvian 16 – 18 Novembre 2011

International days of thermalism 16 – 18 November 2011







The EHTTA at the European Conference on Tourism: “Sustainable and responsible tourism as a contributor to quality of life” in Budapest

The Hungarian Presidency of the EU Council has invited the European Route of Historical Thermal Towns, to the European Conference on Tourism entitled: “Sustainable and responsible tourism as a contributor to quality of life” (http://www.tourism2011budapest.eu/en/program.php), scheduled in Budapest on 12th and 13th May.

The conference will focus on the issue “New tourism products in European Tourism serving quality of life – Health, wellness and medical tourism”, including the new European cross-border healthcare directive and the project of the European Route of Historical Thermal Towns.

For the EHTTA association is scheduled a speech of the President Christian Corne.

Press release of Mr. Corne, E.H.T.T.A. President


La ville de Vichy idéalement située sur les rives de l’Allier a été choisie pour accueillir les Journées d’Automne du Thermalisme qui se dérouleront les 25 et 26 novembre 2010 au sein du Palais des Congrès Opéra, classé Monument Historique. Soyez persuadé que je me réjouis très sincèrement de ce choix, non seulement en ma qualité de Maire-Adjoint, mais aussi en tant que Président de la Fédération Thermale et Climatique Française.

Cette manifestation, initialement organisée pour les instances du thermalisme français, a été élargie aux membres de l’Association Européenne des Villes Thermales Historiques (E.H.T.T.A.). Cette association que j’ai également l’honneur de présider, a pour principaux objectifs : la reconnaissance de la spécificité des villes thermales, l’encouragement à sauvegarder le patrimoine thermal, architectural et culturel, la mise en œuvre au niveau de l’Union Européenne des politiques de protection de ce patrimoine ainsi que des campagnes de sensibilisation, et la construction d’un produit touristique européen axé sur cette culture historique qui permette de générer des retombées économiques pour les villes thermales européennes.
L’une des missions de ce réseau européen est déjà remplie puisque le Conseil de l’Europe nous a accordé, en mai 2010, le label d’Itinéraire culturel européen. Ce label nous sera officiellement décerné au cours d’une cérémonie qui précédera le dîner de gala du Jeudi 25 novembre.

Ces Rencontres d’Automne nous réservent encore d’autres surprises, et non des moindres… puisque notre homologue italienne, la FEDERTERME nous a fait savoir son souhait d’organiser son Assemblée Générale à Vichy. Nous connaissons le travail accompli par cette institution tant en ce qui concerne le thermalisme que le bien-être, mais aussi l’intérêt qu’elle porte aux actions menées par le réseau E.H.T.T.A. Nous sommes non seulement extrêmement honorés de recevoir cette délégation et de la faire participer à nos conférences-débats, mais également très heureux de rencontrer ses représentants et de pouvoir discuter librement de nos différentes pratiques, le tout dans une atmosphère conviviale… je peux vous en assurer.

Alors pour deux jours, Vichy, Reine des Villes d’Eaux, la bien-nommée, pavoisera aux couleurs de l’Italie… Qué viva Italia !

Dr Christian CORNE
Président de la F.T.C.F.
Président d’E.H.T.T.A.