Manneken-Pis, the Emblem of Belgium in his new Bathrobe

The most famous little man in Brussels, the Belgian capital, joined the growing community of “Bathrobe Addicts©” in time for the EHTTA 10th Anniversary celebrations! Created in the spa towns of the Massif Central (France), the Bathrobe Addicts© community now has a base in Belgium where the campaign is being developed in partnership with the Tourist Office of Spa and the Association of the Route des Villes d’eaux du Massif Central. EHTTA’s 50 spa towns represented by their delegates and elected representatives were in Brussels on the 9th October in order to celebrate European thermal culture and the thermal way of life. A complete outfit comprising minature bathrobe, slippers and bag, branded with the Bathrobe Addicts© logo was presented to members of the Order of the Mannekin-Pis at the Town Hall in the Grand Place. After the ceremony, EHTTA Members, all dressed in the iconic white bathrobes, joined a marching band to parade to the site of the famous statue where his new outfit was unveiled and his special song was sung by everyone! The bathrobe, which is a simple but effective emblem for all spa towns which are the epitome ofwellness and thermal experiences, is now the 1302nd costume in the Manneken-Pis costume museum in Brussels! Find out more about the brand:


Tourism Manifesto

Tourism is an important driver of economic and social development. This is why we, the fifty undersigned European tourism stakeholders, representing all aspects of the EU tourism sector, appael for greater recognition of tourism in the new European Commission and the creation of a Commission portfolio on “Transport and Tourism”.

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Afyonkarahisar (Turkey) and Caldas da Rainha (Portugal) are new UNESCO Creative Cities

On 30 October 2019, 66 cities, among them Afyonkarahisar (Turkey) and Caldas da Rainha (Portugal) as EHTTA members, have been designated as UNESCO Creative Cities by the Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay. As laboratories of ideas and innovative practices, the UNESCO Creative Cities bring a tangible contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals through innovative thinking and action. Through their commitment, cities are championing sustainable development actions that directly benefit communities at urban level.

“All over the world, these cities, each in its way, make culture the pillar, not an accessory, of their strategy,” says UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “This favours political and social innovation and is particularly important for the young generations.”

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EHTTA at the 9th Annual Advisory Forum

EHTTA attended the 9th Annual Advisory Forum of the Council of Europe in Sibiu from 2nd – 4th of October. The three days during the Forum have focused on the theme “Cultural Routes for Cultural Tourism” and many interesting presentations and speeches have been given to this very interesting topic. This Forum also celebrated the Routes’ achievements in the field of Cultural Tourism with the Annual Award to four best practices in the field of “Cultural Tourism and Sustainable Cultural Development”: EHTTA and its Cultural Route has been awarded for the: European Thermal Heritage Day to be celebrated every year at the 12th of October since 2018. Our is one among the four the best practices that convinced the jury as concrete sustainable projects. We received this recognition from MrsBirgitta RINGBECK and Mr Bogdan Gheorghe TRIF.


EHTTA celebrated the European Thermal Heritage Day

On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of EHTTA the European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA) has organized a conference and reception to focus on the thermal heritage in Europe on 12th of October 2019. After the first celebration of the “European Thermal Heritage Day” on 12th of October 2018 in Budapest, the forum organized this year was joined by many politicians and companies linked to the Cultural Heritage of Europe.

The event included presentations and an exchange about European projects like “Innova Spa” or “Les Accros du Peignoir”. A huge timeline about EHTTA and all success in the last 10 years showed once more the importance of the thermal heritage that connects countries and people across Europe and how EHTTA and its members are working together to keep this heritage alive and promote the cities.

Having this idea and mission in mind the book “What’s spa? SPA: A concept to be re-defined“, written by Mario Crecente was published during the celebrations in Spa, Belgium.

The network continues to aim the official declaration of the European Thermal Heritage Day on 12th of October in future, to protect the thermal heritage and make the European citizens aware of what they inherited from their ancestors.


10th Anniversary of the European Historic Thermal Towns Association

The historic thermal towns, or spa towns in Europe have been centers of tourism and healing for centuries. They have a tradition of welcome which continues to this day, and are renowned for the quality of their architecture, heritage, and spa facilities. Thermal towns have historically been places of innovation, both socially and in the design of the urban form and particular styles of architecture. Furthermore spa towns have played an important part in the development of European society, memory, culture, healthcare and tourism.


Therefore it has only been a consequent step for some of the most important historic thermal towns to found a network in 2009, an idea born in the context of a European project called Thermae Europae. The “European Historic Thermal Towns Association” (EHTTA) was established as a non-profit Association based on the need to encourage, protect and enhance the thermal, artistic and cultural heritage throughout Europe.


These days, the EHTTA is celebrating its 10th anniversary. On October 11th the official gala and celebration is held in Spa, Belgium, in the connection of the association’s autumn general assembly and the European Thermal Heritage Day.


EHTTA has reached significant figures


With half a dozen of new members only this year, EHTTA has reached the official number of 49 members in 16 countries. This proofs that the presentations on a political level throughout Europe and engagements of the association in various projects and activities especially with the Cultural Routes of Europe have led to a wide recognition in the past ten years. Furthermore the recruitment work of the scientific committee and its responsibility to validate the criteria needed for a membership, has been successful.


Recognized Cultural Route of Europe


The first major milestone achieved by the Association was to be certified by the Council of Europe as a “Cultural Route” in 2010 – the “European Route of Historic Thermal Towns”, one of only 38 routes certified by the Council of Europe. Other routes include linear and pilgrimage routes such as the Way of St James (the Camino), the Via Francigena, and the St Olaf Ways, and themed routes such as the European Route of Megalithic Culture, the Routes of the Olive Tree, the Iter Vitis Route, and Destination Napoleon, to name some of them.


“Together with the other European Cultural Routes our route of historic thermal towns represents a milestone for that message of culture and peace of which the Council of Europe has actually appointed us to become special ambassadors, inviting us to extend our borders. We have learned this above all in our meetings with other routes and it has been underlined by the recent attribution to the Cultural Routes Programme of one of the most prestigious European awards: the Carlos V Prize received in Yuste from His Majesty Felipe King of Spain,” states Giuseppe Bellandi, who will now retire, after many years of successful work as EHTTA president.


He is succeeded by José Manuel Baltar Blanco, Governor of the Spanish province of Ourense. “I am sure he will be able to give a continuity and new impulses to EHTTA,” says Bellandi and once more reaches out to the celebrations: “Today is a special date for EHTTA: it is an important birthday, we celebrate our 10th anniversary. It is a first achievement reached in good health and with a strong determination to continue the ambitious project that began in 2009 with the farsighted intuition and political vision of our founding members.


Anniversary Celebrations connected to General Assembly in Spa


The tourism office of Spa together with the Wallonian tourist board are officially hosting this year’s EHTTA autumn general assembly held in Spa. With their support a broad programme and different events have been organized for four days bringing together not only the representatives and members from all over Europe, but also the Belgian media and public.


The official programme starts with a reception of the city of Brussels followed by a press conference to be held in Brussels on 9th October inviting media and political representatives at the offices of the Wallonia Belgium Tourism. On 10th October the general assembly is held, followed by a broad programme of technical exchange among the members and site inspections of the thermal infrastructure and tourism highlights of Spa. On Friday, 11th the official anniversary celebration is held, inviting important partners and companions of the past ten years to celebrate the association and its members. On Saturday 12th October the European Thermal Heritage Day is celebrated, also inviting the public to learn more about the historic thermal heritage in Europe.


New EHTTA Presidency

On the occasion of the autumn general assembly held in Spa on October 11th, 2019 the new president and vice presidents were inaugurated.


Mr. José Manuel Baltar Blanco, governor of the province of Ourense (Spain) has been elected to lead the European Historic Thermal Towns Association for the next two years. He is accompanied by three new vice presidents: Mr. Eric Brut, Director of La Route des Ville d’Eau du Massif Central (France), Mr. Lorenzo Lucchini, Mayor of the city of Acqui Terme (Italy) and Hugo M. Oliveira, Councillor of the city of Caldas da Rainha (Portugal).


Autumn General Assembly in Brussels and Spa, Belgium

From 9th to 11th of October the Autumn General Assembly of EHTTA took place in Brussels and Spa.

The delegation and the press was first invited to Brussels and welcomed in the town hall of Brussels by the Association “Ordre des amis de Manneken-Pis” and the 2nd General Director of Wallonie Belgique Tourisme and the Mayor of Spa.

On 10th of October the Autumn General Assembly took place in Spa. During that meeting of all members of EHTTA, the new president José Manuel BALTAR BLANCO and the vice presidents have been elected.

The study visit of Spa and its region took place one day later, on 11th of October.


EHTTA attended TERMATALIA 2019 in Ourense, Spain

TERMATALIA is one of the most interesting fairs and meeting points concerning the thermal business connection between Europe and Latin America and again a great success in 2019. The fair, that was held between 19 and 20 September at its headquarters in Europe, the Expourense fairground, located in the thermal capital of Ourense in Spain, brought together professionals from more than 30 countries. TERMATALIA promotes the exchange of experiences between different continents, from a business, institutional and social point of view, to obtain a global perspective of the sector, in order to promote the strategic market of Thermal Tourism and Wellness. In this occasion our president Giuseppe Bellandi and the team of EHTTA represented the Cultural Route with its own stand, informing interested people about the thermal heritage, tourism offers but also cooperations for the future to raise the awareness of the network and its almost 50 members in 16 European countries.

Find out more about Thermatalia HERE