14 May 2009 – 5 May 2010
- ESPA project work: During the period under review, preparatory work was
stepped up for a possible EU project (‘Families with overweight children and
adolescents’) with ESPA involvement. Bad Schmiedeberg in the German region of
Saxony-Anhalt has announced its willingness to act as project leader. In the
meantime, three working sessions have already been held. The third of these was
also attended by representatives of possible project partners from Bulgaria: the
country’s Ministry of Health and the BUBSPA Bulgarian Spas Association. With
other EU Members States such as Lithuania, Portugal and Romania also interested
in participating, ESPA is currently exploring the possibilities of EU funding. Member
associations have been provided with European Commission documents on
possible projects, the last mailing being sent out on 3 January 2010.
- External meetings: The ESPA President, the Secretary-General and the Project
Manager attended a total of seven meetings in the period under review with MEPs
and members of the European Commission, chiefly to explain the work of ESPA
and discuss possibilities for EU health resort projects. As an association
representing European health resorts and spas, ESPA has been appointed to the
Calypso Action Group, which deals with social tourism (including health tourism).
ESPA is represented by its Vice President Nicasio Perez Menzel. Calypso
conferences have so far been held in Brussels, Warsaw, Toulouse and Rome, with
Dr Sigrun Lang and Reinhard Petry taking part as chairs and speakers. For more
details, visit: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/tourism/social-
- New ESPA website: In September 2009, ESPA’s new English-language website
went online. As a result, the number of hits rose from fewer than 20,000 in
September 2009 to over 65,000 in March 2010. This extremely high interest for a
professional association is a very satisfactory development as it means ESPA is
becoming more widely known and ought to attract more advertising. In addition,
during the period under review ESPA Reports 03-2009 and 01-2010 were
- Membership recruitment: Meetings were held with representatives of spas
associations from Poland, Austria and Italy. On 5 February 2010, ESPA received an
official application for full membership from two spa hotels in Montegrotto and
Teolo/Padova, both of which have already been certified by EUROPESPA.
Following a meeting in Rome with Dr Lang, the President and other board members
of Federterme (the Italian Spas Association) signalled their interest in rejoining
ESPA. Moreover, expressions of interest in cooperation are increasingly being
received from France.
- Internal meetings: During the period under review, the President, the Secretary-
General and the Project Manager took part in a total of 19 meetings and information
visits at an international, national and regional level.
- On 8 February 2010, the ESPA Peloid Division was established as an
independent department under the auspices of ESPA in Bad Schwalbach
(Germany). Dr Theodor Stofira (the General Manager of Lazné Belhorad in the
Czech Republic) was voted temporary chairman while Deddo Lehmann (the director
of Bad Schmiedeberg health resort in Germany) was made temporary secretary.
- Board: The period under review saw two board meetings and two meetings of the
managing board of ESPA in Sandanski (Bulgaria), Băile Felix (Romania), Bükfürdõ
(Hungary) and Porto (Portugal).
- International EUROPESPA seal of quality
In the period under review, EUROPESPA med certification was carried out for the
first time at six institutions in Germany, the Czech Republic and Italy, while three
recertification audits took place in Germany and the Czech Republic. Moreover, four
hotels in Turkey and Bulgaria were audited using the new EUROPESPA wellness
standard, three of them being successfully certified. Meanwhile, the website
www.europespa.eu has been overhauled and is set to become the leading
advertising platform in international health tourism. The first EUROPESPA
catalogue with a circulation of 8,000 featuring 23 EUROPESPA certified institutions
is currently being compiled and will be distributed among for instance journalists,
tour operators and travel agents as well as some 2,000 players in international
health tourism – and also published on the European Spas Association’s website.
- ESPA Academy: Meetings were held with various potential partners, including
Fresenius University of Applied Sciences in Idstein (Germany), the University of
Breda (the Netherlands) and Porto (Portugal). The aim of these meetings was to
establish a joint international academy to develop training on subjects related to
health resorts and healthcare throughout Europe. Language courses geared to
health resorts and tourism will also be offered. These measures will be delivered by
partners working under licence in individual countries. The aim is to increase
transparency in cross-border professional qualification and raise the quality of
Chronology of activities
24–26.05.09 At the 20th Spa Congress of the Serbian Spas Association in
Vrnjačka Banja, ESPA President Dr Sigrun Lang gave a talk
outlining ESPA and its activities. Meanwhile in Belgrade, Dr
Lang and Reinhard Petry had a meeting at the Ministry of
Tourism to discuss strengthening the Serbian Spas Association.
04–06.06.09 Congress of the Polish Spas Association in Muszyna
Vice President Dr Zalesakova and ESPA Project Manager
Reinhard Petry reported on aspects of health policy and
explained ESPA’s activities.
08– 09. 07.09 The Mecklenburg-Vorpommern Ministry of Economic Affairs
hosted a meeting in Schwerin to compare seals of quality.
ESPA Project Manager Reinhard Petry explained
13.07.09 On 13 July, ESPA President Dr Sigrun Lang and Secretary-
General Joachim Lieber met Stefan Sharlopov and Siyka
Katsarova, the President and Secretary-General of the
Bulgarian Spas Association, in Freudenstadt (Germany). The
meeting addressed ESPA’s advisory role in the legislative
procedure surrounding a Bulgarian health resort act and the
spread of the EUROPESPA certificate in the country.
22.08.09 3rd Usedom Health Day
The 3rd Usedom Health Day was held in the seaside resort of
Heringsdorf on 22 August. ESPA President Dr Sigrun Lang was
invited to take part in a panel debate. Described by Dr Lang as
a model for good, efficient cooperation, the event was oganised
under the motto ‘Exercise and sea on the sunny Isle of
Usedom’. Visitors and locals alike had a fun, action-packed day
getting to grips with a variety of aspects of health.
31.08.09 Meeting of ESPA’s managing board in Bad Bük (H)
The regular meeting of ESPA’s managing board took place on 1
August in the Hungarian health resort of Bükfürdö. The agenda
included the establishment of a Peloid Division in early 2010 in
Germany, ESPA’s influence within the Calypso Action Group,
and the main themes of the forthcoming ESPA congress, which
will address local natural remedies and medical prevention.
Moreover, ESPA’s new website was unveiled.
22.09.09 Meeting with Mayor Bronzato of Abano Terme
ESPA President Dr Sigrun Lang met the Mayor of Abano Terme
and a delegation from the town’s hotel association to discuss
Abano and the province of Padua joining ESPA. In ESPA’s
view, Abano Terme would be welcome to join – a decision
which would not affect its membership of the national Italian
21–25.09.09 Serbian delegation visits Germany
From 21–25 September, a 35-strong delegation from Serbia
headed by ESPA board member Prof Aleksandar Dimic visited
health resorts in Bavaria, the Czech Republic and Baden-
Württemberg. The participants took a first-hand look at Kneipp
treatments in Bad Wörishofen and went to the new thermal
baths. At Sibyllenbad they witnessed thermal treatment and
wellness. And in Franzensbad and Bad Kissingen, they learned
about the benefits of drinking natural mineral water. Their visit
was rounded off with a trip to Baden-Baden.
28.09.09 Meeting with the President of the University of Breda in
connection with the ESPA Academy
Together with board member Marlies Sobczak and Project
Manager R. Petry, a meeting was held with Hans G. Uijterwijk,
the President of the University of Breda, to discuss the
establishment of the ESPA Academy.
30.09–02.10.09 The 5th Romanian Balneary Market and Forum was held in
Calimanesti-Caciulata from 30 September until 3 October. The
event was staged by the Romanian Organisation of Spa
Owners under the umbrella of the Ministry of Tourism. The
Romanian Balneary Market is on the official calendar of the
World Tourism Organization. About 53 exhibitors along with
around 350 visitors and specialists from Romania and other
countries took part in this year’s event. The guests of honour
were Elena Udrea from the Romanian Ministry of Tourism and
Dr Sigrun Lang, President of ESPA.
30.09.09 BARMER in Wuppertal
The ESPA Project Manager and Dr von Storch met Birgit
Fischer, the chairwoman of BARMER medical insurance
company, to discuss the importance of health tourism
(especially health cures) as a key pillar of medical prevention.
BARMER GEK Ersatzkasse is currently Germany’s biggest
individual medical insurance scheme. Birgit Fischer welcomed
the international EUROPESPA med certification as a way of
promoting transparency in the foreign health cures segment.
07–09.10.09 BTC wellness workshop in Tartu (Estonia)
The Secretary-General was invited to attend the annual
conference of the Baltic Sea Tourism Commission, where he
spoke to the more than 60 delegates about current trends in
wellness and health tourism. A presentation on Estonian health
resorts was given by Dr Urmas Sukles from Haapsalu
representing the Estonian Spas Association.
16–18.10.09 ESPA at Spanish exhibition Termatalia
The Termatalia International Thermal Tourism Fair was held for
the ninth time from 16–18 October 2009 in Ourense, northwest
Spain. Nearly 200 exhibitors from Europe, Asia, and South and
Central America presented their services to the some 8,000
visitors. As in previous years, the mineral and healing water bar
proved a popular draw. The speakers during the three-day
seminar programme included ESPA President Dr Sigrun Lang
talking about the development of Baden-Baden and ESPA
Secretary-General Joachim Lieber, who took stock of health
tourism in Europe. ESPA was also represented by board
members Prof Zeki Karagülle (Turkey) outlining new trends in
hydrology and Sigmar Hauksson (Iceland), who spoke about
the benefits of geothermal power. Moreover, ESPA Quality
Manager Dr Kurt von Storch gave a talk entitled ‘Natural hot
springs – their geological origin and aspects of quality
assurance.’ This strong showing by ESPA was partly the result
of the cooperation agreement initiated in May by Joachim
Lieber with health tourism exhibitions Anfaş Hetex in Antalya
(Turkey), Termatalia, and the annual rotating exhibition of the
OPTBR Romanian Spas Association.
24–25.10.09 DHV autumn meeting in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany)
Reinhard Petry and Dr von Storch attended the general meeting
of the DHV German Spas Association as delegates of the VBK
German Association of Spa and Climate Studies, attending the
congress events and committee meetings.
04–06.11.09 ESPA Secretary-General Joachim Lieber and board member
Csilla Mezösi (Hungary) gave a presentation on ESPA and the
philosophy of European spas at an international conference of
health resorts in Nanjing (China).
08–10.11.09 Meeting of ESPA board in Sandanski (Bulgaria)
The meeting focused on the services made available by ESPA
to its members via its network, particularly in connection with
lobbying, consulting, seminars and quality assurance. In
addition, a report was submitted on the planned development of
the ESPA Academy while the establishment of the ESPA Peloid
Division in February 2010 in Bad Schwalbach (Germany) was
16–18.11.09 At the conference of the Calypso Action Group in Warsaw,
Project Manager Reinhard Petry spoke with the involvement of
families in the EU programme ‘Families with overweight children
05.12.09 Meeting of the EUROPESPA Council of Experts in Bratislava
The EUROPESPA Council of Experts meets about twice a year
to reassess and update the criteria for evaluating spa hotels,
sanatoriums and medical centres in Europe. This is intended to
maintain EUROPESPA med’s leading position as easily the
most meticulous system of certification for European health
resorts. The meeting took place in Bratislava on 6 December
and was hosted by ESPA Vice President Dr Janka Zálešáková.
The members of the Council of Experts are Dr Zálešáková
(Slovakia), Prof Zeki Karagülle (Turkey), Siegfried Scholz
(Germany) and Herbert Renn (Germany) – leading specialists
who are also actively involved in their respective member
associations. The EUROPESPA catalogues of criteria are to be
published in future.
10.12.09 ESPA President Dr Sigrun Lang attended a meeting of the
Calypso Action Group in Toulouse (France), where she chaired
17.01.10 A joint closed meeting was held by the DHV European Affairs
Committee and ESPA representatives in Bad Aachen
(Germany). For the first time for nearly four years, ESPA
representatives were given the opportunity to attend an official
DHV German Spas Association to explain ESPA policy and in
particular the EUROPESPA certificate. Following personnel
changes in DHV, the constructive meeting, at which ESPA was
represented by President Dr Sigrun Lang, the Secretary-
General, the Project Manager and the Quality Manager, as well
as OPTBR Secretary-General Rodica Pencea (Romania) and
ESPA board member Marlies Sobczak from the Netherlands,
represented a fresh start in communication and future
cooperation between DHV and ESPA benefiting health resorts
all over Europe.
18.01/22–23.03.10 Meetings of the ‘Families with overweight children and
adolescents’ project group in Bad Schmiedeberg (Germany)
24–28.02.10 A conference on thalassotherapy was held in Djerba by the
Tunisian Ministry of Health. ESPA Project Manager Reinhard
Petry and Quality Manager Dr Kurt von Storch spoke about
quality and structures in the sector.
28.01.10 The ESPA President attended a meeting of the DHV German
Spas Association’s board in Berlin.
01–03.03. 2010 ESPA President Dr Sigrun Lang attended another meeting of
the Calypso Action Group in Rome, where she chaired Panel I.
Following a meeting with Dr Constanzo Iannotti Pecci, the
President of Federterme (Italian Spas Association) and other
Italian representatives, it was announced that Federterme was
willing to rejoin ESPA.
03–06.03. 2010 ESPA Secretary-General Joachim Lieber gave a presentation
on ESPA and new developments in the health resort sector at a
well attended seminar hosted by TURKSPA during the Anfaş
Hetex Health, Spa&Wellness, Thalasso, Thermal and Medical
Tourism Exhibition in Turkey.
10–12.03.10 ESPA presence at ITB 2010
Once again, ESPA was on hand at the ITB tourism exhibition in
Berlin, in particular with its own press conference at the
International Congress Centre on Friday 12 March. ESPA
President Dr Sigrun Lang and Secretary-General Joachim
Lieber spoke about the foundation of ESPA’s Peloid Division.
ESPA board member Sigmar Hauksson presented the findings
of a survey conducted by US magazine ‘Business Traveller’,
which found Reykjavik to be the world’s foremost spa town.
Previously, the ESPA President and Reinhard Petry had
responded to an invitation from the Bulgarian government to
attend a press conference given by the Bulgarian Department
of Tourism on 11 March, where they emphasised the
importance of Bulgarian health resorts and the gratifying
number of spas and wellness centres in the country already
certified by EUROPESPA.
22.03.10 Welcoming address by ESPA President Dr Sigrun Lang at an
event staged in Bad Schmiedeberg (Germany) to mark World
Water Day 2010. Sadly, once again, this year only few health
resorts took advantage of this day to publicise themselves.
25–26.03.10 Humanomed (a group of healthcare centres in Austria) invited a
delegation from ESPA to a meeting. ESPA’s Project Manager
explained the activities of ESPA and the possibilities for
cooperation. Prof Günther Leiner, the President of the
European Health Forum Gastein, showed his keen interest in
collaboration and announced that he would involve ESPA in
forum events in October.
13–14.04.10 A delegation from Bad Wörishofen visited Brussels to meet
MEPs as well as representatives of Germany, Bavaria and the
European Social Insurance Partners. Discussions centred on
the influence and impact of decisions taken in Brussels.
20–21.04.10 The ESPA President and Reinhard Petry met representatives of
the Danish Spas Association.
21.04.10 With letter from the 21st of April the Italian Association
“Federterme” applied again the membership in the ESPA.
26.04.10 VBK German Association of Spa and Climate Studies delegates
Reinhard Petry and Dr von Storch attended meetings of DHV
committees in Berlin.