Balneology in the Focus: New Health Tourism Product Launched

Off to Spas Conference & Workshop hosted in Hévíz 18 November 2016, Hévíz (Hungary)

Balneology in the Focus: New Health Tourism Product Launched

Within the framework of the Jubilee Congress of the 125-year-old Hungarian Balneological Association, the final conference and professional workshop of the OFF to SPAS project was held in Hévíz on 18-19-20 November 2016.
During the program, participants were given detailed information about the results of the international project, and were able to become acquainted with European organisations, such as the European Spa Association, the European Network for Accessible Tourism, the Transylvanian Balneotourism Cluster, the International Social Tourism Organisation - ISTO Europe and the EuropeSpa medical & wellness organisation.

During the project ( August 2015 - November 2016), the partners:

  • Conducteda research in support of the health tourism development: market study concerning older people, surveys, comparative  analyses, researches testing the market of older touristsand balneological issues, involving the Nordic members of AGE Platform Europe, as well as the customers of the travel agency Travel Specialist Group Sweden AB,
  • set up a balneological tourism product network, - through the example of Hévíz and Covasna - which offers location, market-specific medical and health assistance programs for the older age group,
  • set up discussion forums, workshops related to the project for the purpose of network building and partnerships, and exchanging good practices,
  • performed extensive marketing communication, addressed decision makers and potential travellers, and conformed to the special needs of target groups and to tourism trends.

The promotion of the senior tourism is a strategy for active and healthy ageing. In fact travelling provides life satisfaction and helps people stay active, avoids loneliness and lack of meaning in the later stages of life and tackle social exclusion, which are some of the main issues older people face today. Travelling can be an enriching experience for senior citizens as it provides a change in their daily routine; it involves discovery, interaction with the environment, intercultural contact and social interaction. The well-ness and care experience are definitely a plus that the balneological tourism can add and value, for both the older and younger populations, an investments for ageing well.

More information and workshop presentations are available on the website

About the Off to Spas project (676737/COSME Programme):
In accordance with the European Union’s objective to foster low/medium season tourism (COSME Programme), a European consortium has launched the ‘Off to Spas’ project (COSME 676737). The project aims at creating new, thermal water related international health tourism products (international balneology product) in the spa towns of Central Europe that could serve as a main attraction in order to bring seniors to these regions in the low tourism seasons.

The main objectives of the project:

  • Encourage a better cooperation and increased agreements among different actors of the health
  • tourism value chain and seniors associations/organisations with elaborating a new, international
  • balneologytourism product network focused on off-season, and custom tailored toseniors specific
  • needs;
  • To make more benefit for tourism SMEs by increasing the number of tourism flows during the low and
  • medium seasons and professionalization of tourism service providers;
  • Communication and promotion of tourism as a strategy for active and healthy ageing;
  • Facilitate accessibility in tourism offers, along with intermodal transfer and transnational connectivity;
  • Foster the construction of innovative health insurance policies in order to make the product sustainable and self-developing in the future.

The health tourism product development process included a wide range of activities from research to monitoring, and was supported by the active marketing communication of involved partners.
The project period is from August 2015 to November 2016.
Project partners are: University of Pannonia (Veszprém, Hungary), AGE Platform Europe (Belgium), Hévíz Tourism Nonprofit Ltd. (Hévíz, Hungary), Covasna County Council (Romania), Covasna Tourism Association (Romania), Travel Specialist Group Sweden AB (Sweden), Zala County Council (Hungary).

Further information:
Horváth Orsolya
Tourism Non-profit Ltd. of Hévíz
Phone: 00 36 83 540 070