Pandemic as an opportunity for Thermal Tourism discussed in Ourense

EHTTA President Manuel Baltar sets the scene for International Congress

The first International Congress on Water and Health took place at Termatalia in Ourense on 16th and 17th September. Because of the pandemic it was in a different format to the planned event in Argentina, but still it brought together fifty international speakers and an audience of over 500 from 30 countries. The 20th edition of Termatalia proved that it’s possible to reinvent a trusted format and to adapt to new conditions.

EHTTA President, Manuel Baltar, who also chairs the Termatalia Advisory Committee was one of the introductory speakers at Termatalia, and was keen to express the importance of thermal water in regions such as his own Province of Ourense, and the opportunity that it represents, particularly if public and private bodies collaborate to deliver thermalism projects – services, infrastructure, tourism and health can all benefit. His message at this difficult time for the whole world was a clear one: “Water is life, but thermal water is health. In spas we talk about well-being, relaxation, rest and, above all, of the properties that mineral-medicinal waters have for health, something that in these times takes on a fundamental role and is a strength for our thermal territories ”

Simone Zagrodnik, EHTTA’s Executive Director joined the Congress from her office in Wiesbaden to talk about “The pandemic as an opportunity to rediscover thermal towns”. SHe spoke about how there is a new chance for spa towns to be
re-discovered and enjoyed by visitors. One reason is that big cities are associated with crowds of people, little space, and a hectic lifestyle, whereas many of our spa towns are smaller and have space, green parks and surroundings, relaxation, well-being, and a slower pace of life. New tourism trends suggest that people prefer to discover places nearby and/or in their own country, and are keen to find out what spa towns offer which is a combination of thermal waters, health, wellness, treatments, prevention and rehabilitation – something which all together adds up to a new concept of “Healthness”.