The European cultural thermal Routes becomes reality


The Council of Europe officially awarded the “European  Route of  Historical and Thermal Towns” with the label of “European Cultural Route”,  on 25th  November 2010 in Vichy; Mr Corne, President of the EHTTA had the honour to receive this important achievement.

The ceremony took place within the “Journées d’ Automne du Thermalisme” with great satisfaction of Mr.CORNE as President of  the  EHTTA,  promoter of the “Journées d’ Automne”, and Deputy Mayor of the city of Vichy.

This event was relevant both for the EHTTA partners and for  the members of the Cultural Route that obtained the label of “European Cultural Route”. The cities involved are: Spa- Belgium, Vichy- France, Bath- United Kingdom , Ourense-Spain,  Chaves- Portugal, Techirghiol-Romania, the Region of Karlovy Vary- Czech Republic, and in Italy Salsomaggiore Terme, Bagni di Lucca and Acqui Terme, that boast the Vice Presidence of the Association with its Major Mr Danilo Rapetti.

From the year 2000, when the “Thermae Europae” Culture Project started, we have come along  the way  up to receive the “European Thermal Route” award, that oblige
the member Towns to comply with 5 fundamental quality requirements:

  1. Demonstrate an heritage of thermal use and tradition of, at least, 150 years old.
  2. Possess a natural supply of thermal mineral water which is managed and monitored to a standard of quality as defined by legally binding regional, national or European statutes.
  3. Having an architectural heritage dated back, at least, to the 19th century, constituted by several buildings connected  to the thermal activity and classified as “National Monument”;
  4. Provide details of other cultural facilities such as; art galleries, museums, theatre, concert hall, opera house, casino, conference and congress facilities.
  5. Offering a prime quality hospitality (through high-end hotels, three stars at least) and having a remarkable number of rooms, suitable for the thermal and touristic function of the town.

And now, what will happen after Vichy?

Once having passed the constituent phase, the Association will focus on the implementation of the networking, the instruments, the initiatives, the good practices, the new routes, the communication, the dialogue (both public and private), the relationships and the collaboration.
“The Association will mainly undertake these fundamental goals- as President CORNE said- such as the recognition of the thermal cities’ specificities, the support to the thermal, architectural and cultural heritage preservation, the development European policies concerning the safeguard and a commitment to increasing awareness about the values of this heritage, on European level, as well as the creation of a European touristic product focused on the historical culture that will be able to produce economic rebounds for the European thermal cities”.

This important stage will also be supported by the Italian thermal system, represented by Federterme which attended the first formal Assembly of the EHTTA in Acqui Terme (on May 2010). Right then the Mayor of Acqui Terme, Mr Rapetti expressed his “satisfaction coming both from the choice of the City as the welcome centre of the event and from the aim and the commitment of  the promotion of  thermalism in an integrated way, with an all-accomplished thermal tourism offer, as the expression of the territory’s identities,  to be inserted into the framework of a strengthened collaboration, also thanks to the new European thermal routes”.

“Networking in order to increase the value of the European cultural thermal heritage and to share projects for the spa and thermal welfare growth will be a new commitment for the European thermal system –  according to – Costanzo Jannotti Pecci, President of  Federterme. Moreover, the European thermal route will be a promotion tool for every single Country as well as to increase the mutual acquaintance and cohesion, with an essential contribution to the consolidation of the common European Home. This commitment is shared not only by the European thermalists but also by the European Commissioner for the Industry and the Enterprise Mr Antonio Tajani, who stated that (Tourism stakeholders’ Summit, Madrid, April 14) “the most important sectors are  thermal and health once, together with the cultural, religious, congressional and sporty tourism as well as the tourism of wine and food and the ecotourism, as all of them are in a growing phase”.
For that reason the thermal towns have an important role, they have to satisfy the needs and the choices of people  looking for a thermal welfare model and tourism in accordance with the economic, social, territorial, environmental and cultural sustainability requirements.

The mark of the European thermal model- highly supported by the EHTTA-  seems to have passed the Mediterranean as it characterized also the 63rd International Scientific Congress of the World Federation of Hydrotherapy and Climatotherapy (FEMTEC) in Hammamet (Tunisia). The Tunisian thermalism will pay attention to the great European heritage, to the scientific culture and to the thermal qualities, with particular regard to France and Italy.

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