European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA)
For the first time ever, Europe’s public and private tourism actors and stakeholders with an interest in tourism have come together to call for the European Union to do more for this important sector. The European Tourism Manifesto for Growth and Jobs highlights the key EU policy priorities for the sector in the coming years on topics ranging from skills and qualifications to sustainability and competitiveness of Europe’s tourism.
Almost 50 European organisations including the EHTTA have already signed up to the Manifesto which seeks to ensure that the continent remains an attractive destination and that the sector continues to make a significant contribution to the EU economy.
The European Travel Commission (ETC) is currently holding the Chairmanship and Secretariat of this initiative. Its biggest focus now is the campaign on an increased EU budget for tourism and asking the EU institutions to move towards an integrated European tourism policy with strategic funding at EU level.
The Manifesto focuses on the following 8 key policy priorities: Competitiveness, Digitalisation, Good governance, Joint promotion, Reduce seasonality, Skills and qualifications, Sustainability and Transport connectivity.
You can download the manifesto here:
You can find the signatories at this link:
On 25 June the second meeting of the EHTTA Executive Council this year took place in Brussels, Peidmont Region, 62 rue du Trône.
The members of the Executive Council have worked a lot on different topics. One of the main subjects have been the preperations of the 10th anniversary celebrations of EHTTA, taking place in Spa in October.The celebrations of the 10th anniversary will be the balance of the work of the first 10 years of activity, the Executive Coucil has therefore decided not only to celebrate but to present to the associates the concrete work in terms of projects, lobbies and visibility. Moreover the candidature of the next president and the next vice-president were presented. The Executive Council also discussed the future of EHTTA and all further strategies. With the renewal of the post of President, Vice Presidents and Executive Council, which will be effective from the General Assembly of Spa in October, will begin a new cycle with the opening to collaborations with the Great Spas of Europe, Partenalia and other European institutions to strengthen the Cultural Route of the Historical Thermal Towns.
The network was also happy to meet Claude-Eugène Bouvier of the European Spas Association (ESPA) to talk about future collaborations and the possibility of building up an “Economic Observatory” in collaboration with EHTTA.
In view of the imminent European elections and considering the importance of the constant information work EHTTA has been carrying on with the European Members of Parliament and institutions mostly since 2015, the EHTTA President Giuseppe Bellandi has prepared a letter to the MEP.
The note is recalling once more the European MEPS on the importance of including thermalism in the European policies and the programmes of the new mandate starting next June.
“ Our goal is to obtain the recognition of the innovative and cultural quality of European spa cities in order to promote a new plan for the tourism sector, encouraging cross-border tourism within the “Europe destination”.
Among the main projects on which we are working I remember the ATLAS, an ambitious initiative for the study of the Thermal Heritage of Europe, mapping spa towns across the continent, the “Café of Europe”, events to debate about future of Thermalis and Europe and the European Thermal Pass, to network the spa cities through an innovative approach.
Our commitment at European level has actually grown a in recent years: in 2015 and 2016 in Brussels and Strasbourg we presented the Manifesto of European thermalism, setting off a concrete lobbying activity with the European Parliament. Activities that, with great conviction, we want to continue.
The thermal water and here we arrive in cities indissolubly linked to it represents our identity our past, present and future but it is an element today little considered, little known and unfortunately little respected. The thermal water has an ancient history.Its culture and its therapeutic properties began with the history of man in an unconscious way first, then with an increasing awareness of the therapeutic properties now validated by the scientific evidence” said Giuseppe Bellandi.”
Each year in June, a Training Academy for the Cultural Routes managers and partners is organized in close collaboration with one of the certified Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe.
The Training Academy aims to provide training on specific current issues in the field of cultural heritage management and tourism promotion to Cultural Routes operators. The Training Academy offers hands-on approaches to the selected topic through the participation of academic or professional experts with whom the Cultural Routes operators can have some exchanges of views.
Marion Vansingle, EHTTA Financial Manager, will attend the VIII Training Academy for Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe taking place from 4th June to 7th June 2019 in Visby, Gotland (Sweden).
The themes of this year will be: “Cultural Routes Financing” and “Cultural Routes and Youth”. The training seminars will explore innovative emerging trends and strategies for funding cultural routes activities and for youth involvmente in cultural, educatuional, tourism and heritage projects. EHTTA will attend workshops with other certified cultural routes as the Hansa, the Viking Routes, TRANSROMANICA, the European Route of Jewish Heritage, the Route of St. Olav Ways, Santiago de Compostela Pilgrim Routes, Via Francigena to Exchange good practices.
Draft programme: rm.coe.int/
The training Academy is organised by the Hansa in partnership with region Gotland and the European Institute of Cultural Routes.
EHTTA was welcomed by The Municipality of Loutra Pozar (Greece) for the General Assembly
Many members were gathered for the Spring General Assembly and the network officially welcomed 7 new members :
- City of Lądek-Zdrój (Poland) – active member
- Region of Afyonkarahisar (Turkey) – associate member
- City of Istiea Aedipsos (Greece) – active member
- City of Archena (Spain) – active member
- City of Baden Bei Wien (Austria) – active member
- City of Luso-Mealhada (Portugal) – active member
- City of Monchique (Portugal) – active member
The Metropolitan City of Bursa took over the membership from the Governorship of Bursa passing this way and Clermont Auvergne Métropole was admitted as an associate member in last May 2018 in Galaalti but attending their first General Assembly.
EHTTA President Giuseppe Bellandi underlined the importance of 2019 for the growth and definition of EHTTA’s objectives that will be achieved in the future. He focused on the year 2019 on the celebration of the 10th anniversary of EHTTA.
The assembly was warmly welcomed by the Mayor of Loutra Pozar, Dimitrios Mpinos, Markos Danas General Secretary of the Hellenic Association of Municipalities with Thermal Springs, and their staff.
EHTTA members were then invited to discover the region and its heritage.
EHTTA was represented at The European Committee of the regions to celebrate the World Water Day, a very precious and exhaustible resource of our planet
A moment to underline the importance of thermal towns in the 21st century: the exceptional particularity of their waters, their sustainable urban development policies and the recovery of cultural heritage. The conference was held in the presence of experts in the sector, Meps, journalists.
The event was organised by Partenalia in cooperation with the European Historic Thermal Towns Association.
- Opening speech of the EHTTA President Mr Giuseppe Bellandi and the vice President Mr Manuel Baltar Blanco.
- Panel focused on “Thermal towns as a factor of cohesion and quality of life in 21st” with EHTTA speakers:
-Mr Luca Bruschi, responsible for EHTTA international relations
-Ms Anne Pirard, city of SPA
-Mr Hugo Oliveira, city of Caldas da Rahina
- At the end of the conference, the official declaration and the European Manifesto on Thermalism has been launched
More on Partenalia website
Full video of the conference
The EHTTA will attend in Brussels on 22nd March the event on: The importance of Historic Thermal Towns in 21st century Europe”, aiming at promoting the touristic and cultural activities of the members of both the networks.
The conference organized by Partenalia and supported by EHTTA will take place at the UE Committee of Regions from 10 am to 1 pm . This event will be holding on the occasion of the World Water Day.
The conference will thus provide the key aspects essential to the promotion and renovation of this thermal sector of activity notably via the sharing of the experience of the EHTTA and will constitute an ideal networking opportunity for members of both Partenalia and the EHTTA. In addition to the most famous thermal towns, many European provinces have a significant potential for the development of activities in the thermal sector and for the renovation of abandoned thermal centres.
Two Presidents of Partenalia and EHTTA, Mr José Manuel Baltar Blanco and Mr Giuseppe Bellandi said: “Members of both Partenalia and the EHTTA will have the opportunity to exchange and discuss the importance of Historic Thermal Towns for European tourism and economic development and the quality of life of European citizens in 21st Europe.
Indeed, in the context of the run-up to the European elections, the towns and provinces belonging to both networks wish to highlight the significance of thermal towns for the European economy and to bolster working relations with members of the European institutions in order to provide them with real-time and bottom-up information as to the necessities of historic thermal towns and to shed light on the clear advantages of supporting this sector of European tourism and more largely of the European economy”
The members of Partenalia and the EHTTA are thus united in the firm belief that thermal towns can work hand-in-hand with EU institutions to increase their economic and touristic potentials and, therefore, ensure their positions as major assets to the EU as a whole. During the conference the thermal ATLAS (project carried out by EHTTA) will be presented to the MEP and relevant stakeholders as well as the “manifesto of thermalism” will be launched at the end of the meeting
The European Historic Thermal Towns Association will be present in two halls at the ITB Berlin in March.
The ITB Berlin is the world’s leading travel trade show and will take place from 6 to 10 March this year. More than 8,900 exhibitors from all over the world present their countries, regions, cities and touristic products.
EHTTA has a stand in the HTI Medical Pavilion and is also visible in the Culture Lounge at the stand of the German Culture Route Partners through.
The possibility of appearing at the ITB Berlin is of great importance for the EHTTA, as it increases the visibility of the network for both partners and tourists. This is done, for example, by presenting all brochures and touristic offers, giving an interview at the ITB Medical Tourism Conference Day , displaying the EHTTA hashtag #thermaltravels on deck chairs and by a Power Point Presentation about all members and tourism packages shown in the Medical Pavilion. There will be interesting meetings with journalists as well as tour operators that are interested in the offers of the Historic Thermal Towns in Europe. In addition, the network can be expanded by gaining new partners at these meetings. As a result, the network continues to grow and remains successful. It is also important that the EHTTA generates more tourists in order to continue to raise awareness of thermalism and culture in Europe.
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