NOTE! This site uses cookies

By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. For more detalis, see Read more

Accept

What are you looking for?


Catalonia will sell tourist packages to promote thermal centres among young people across Europe

Thermal tourism continues to increase, but the sector still has to get rid of the stigma that associates it with the elderly. As a result of this image and the current economic context, people from the sector want to reinvent their business in order to reach publics of all ages. In the coming months thermal centres will begin to sell tourist packages destined for young people across Europe.

SHARE

22 June 2012 08:51 PM

by

ACN / Jordi Pujolar / Anna Corbatera

Mataró (ACN).- Thermal tourism continues to increase, but the sector still has to get rid of the stigma that associates it with the elderly. As a result of this image and the current economic context, people from the sector want to reinvent their business in order to reach publics of all ages. In the coming months thermal centres will begin to sell tourist packages destined for young people across Europe. Moreover, companies and thermal towns strive to claim their own identity and promote the properties of mineral waters that differentiate them from the urban spas that have proliferated recently.


"Thermal tourism is suffering the consequences of the current economic situation, but we must be able to continue the transformation begun in recent years to reach a generation that until recently saw the thermal centers as something remote." Ignasi Avilès, the manager of 'Font Vella' resort at Sant Hilari de Sacalm and the manager of 'Magma', a thermal and leisure centre of Santa Coloma de Farners, considers that because thermal centres always have been associated to healthy treatments, they can be considered as recreational practice. The sector has a clear objective: to convert thermal tourism into a mass product not just for the elderly.

The public sector also defends this strategy by reinforcing the sector at a very difficult moment for the economy. The President of the association 'Thermal Towns' and Mayor of Caldes d'Estrac, Joaquim Arnó, recognises that recreational programmes for the elderly like 'Imserso' "have helped to make this type of tourism known", but believes it is time to break stereotypes and assures that "thermal centres are for all ages."

Out of this context, the Sowell program is born, a pilot initiative at European level to promote thermal tourism among young people. Catalonia is one of four destinations that are part of this project, along with France, Italy and the Czech Republic and is expected to start selling the first tour packages related to the thermal experiences \u201Cin the coming months\u201D.

According to Jordi Secall, marketing director of the 'Catalan Tourism Agency', one of the public bodies responsible for the initiative, \u201Cthe offers that will help young public to rediscover health and wellness tourism will begin appearing soon". It will boost tourism to attract young people across Europe that do not know the thermal offer of Catalonia and will be able to profit from it.

Ignasi Avilès applauds this new instrument of promotion and recognises that currently most thermal centers live mainly from Catalan customers. In addition, these resorts and the towns agree with the idea that it is important to promote the environment, although it is often not prepared to receive large waves of tourists. Many municipalities do not have enough capacity at the hotels and local town services are not prepared for receiving a big increase in population at high season. Because of this, two major associations, 'Thermal Towns', representing the City Councils, and 'Balneària', that includes the thermal centers, are studying joint promotional strategies.

"We are not urban spas"

As well as fighting the association between thermal tourism and the elderly, the sector has to fight another cliché. These original spas are often lumped together with urban spas. "We are not urban spas", assures Ignasi Avilès, manager at 'Font Vella' and 'Magma'. The sector considers that it must claim the mineral and medical properties of their waters. "Urban spas use hot tap water. Thermal water appears where it appears and cannot be moved".

SHARE

  • Thermal bathing at Caldes d'Estrac (by ACN)

  • Thermal bathing at Caldes d'Estrac (by ACN)