EHTTA’s COVID-19 impact survey
As the Europe-wide lockdown stopped thermal towns throughout our network, we wanted to find out what was happening in each town, and what, if anything could be done to help. A survey was sent to all the Members, and over a period of 6 weeks, from 17th April, we received 26 replies, representing 41% of the membership, and all of the towns in the Great Spas of Europe.
There were several insights from the results, some of which may need to be studied further, and these can be found in detail on the new sharing platform.
The survey highlighted a general lack of awareness of EHTTA’s online social media activities, and showed that very few of the respondents are engaging in sharing this content, and less than 2/3 had made colleagues aware of EHTTA’s social media accounts, even though respondents also wanted to see more online activity, lobbying and sharing of best practice.
The vast majority (83%) had to discontinue some projects temporarily. Loss of private and public funding was an issue for 30-40% of respondents, while approx 60% were looking for new funding and/or applying for emergency government funded where it was offered.
Many described springs and taps as being open but bathing establishments were on the whole closed. Montecatini Terme and Daruvar reported some limited facilities being open.
Jobs, festivals and events, and income (eg from ticket sales) are perceived to be at the most risk – thermal and other built heritage seem to be at the least risk
19 respondents gave a free text answer about how thermal towns can lead the recovery from COVID-19. 84% of these mentioned health in their answer.
In terms of the important markets before the crisis – 60% said within our own country was “most important” and 50% said the local region was “moderately important”. Europe had some level of importance for everyone, other world markets less so. The responses to where the most important markets are likely to be after the pandemic show the importance of “proximity tourism” – within our own country, the local region and Europe being most important. NB not all respondents answered all of this question.
Hotels, Events, Festivals and Gastronomy are the worst affected parts of the spa town ecosystem now. Sporting events seem most likely to lead the recovery. Both Built Heritage & Museums and Thermal Water facilities (medical and leisure) seemed to score equal to each other in both parts of the question.