At its General Assembly, held in Budapest last week, members of the European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA) elected Riccardo Mortandello, Mayor of Montegrotto Terme in Italy to be their new President, the fourth person to hold this office since the foundation of EHTTA almost exactly 14 years ago.
Mr Mortandello has been the Mayor of Montegrotto Terme, in the Province of Padua, since 2016. He is also the Vice President of ANCOT (Associazione Nazionale Comuni Termali), the Italian Association of Thermal Towns. He is a communications and marketing expert, and is the founder of the tourist destination
“Termae Colli Euganei” which has been developed successfully to promote both Montegrotto Terme and Abano Terme and the region, which is not far from Venice.
In his first speech to EHTTA Members, the Association’s new President played tribute to past Presidents of the Association, Christian Corne, Giuseppe Bellandi and Manuel Baltar, and to the Vice Presidents of the Association as well as the Executive Director, Simone Zagrodnik. He pledged his support to members and to the Association, before continuing:
“As we know, the thermal sector is various and complex, and the challenge to aspire to, therefore, lies precisely in networking, that is, in the creation of a spa network of contacts with common objectives on a professional, cultural and tourist level. Collaboration between all members of the network is therefore fundamental, offering support to those who need it and sharing knowledge and experiences; develop a structured governance system that allows the involvement of European institutions, individual member states, regional, provincial and local bodies, trade associations and consortia with territorial interest.”
Mr Mortandello believes that:
“EHTTA can play a fundamental role in promoting the cultural and environmental excellence of our territories. Our towns have always been places of culture and creativity, great architecture and impressive heritage, while at the same time being health destinations, bringing together tourism, sport, health and well-being. The challenge is to propose all this also from a new and alternative perspective, especially for the young generations, linking it to cultural tourism.”
After calling EHTTA Members to support lobbying at the European level in support of the thermal sector, he
“I am convinced that together we will be able to achieve great results, because our thermal realities have always been an added value to our territories, which must be preserved and which we should be proud of!”
The EHTTA Executive Council also elected its fifth Vice President, Isidre Pineda, Mayor of the Catalonian town of Caldes de Montbui. He completes the group of Vice Presidents, which consists of Eric Brut from Route des Villes d’Eaux du Massif Central, Markos Danas from the Hellenic Association of Municipalities with Thermal Springs, Isabelle Grégoire from Spa and Victor Leal from Sao Pedro do Sul.
At the General Assembly in Budapest, Viterbo in Italy was accepted as a new member, bringing the total number of members to 51 in 20 countries by January 2024.
The next General Assembly of the European Historic Thermal Towns Association will be held in the Imereti Region in Georgia from 22-24 April 2024.