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Europe – home to the concepts of spa and wellness travel

In Europe, there are more than 12,000 resorts and facilities operating in health and wellness tourism, varying from wellness to medical spa services. Furthermore, there are more than 1,200 spas and health resorts, which are respected medical centres, forming a powerful economic unit generating significant proportions of the gross domestic product of European Community member countries.


The Roman Thermal Spas project was officially kicked-off in Rome at the end of 2014. The project aims to explore the entire potential of the common heritage, to bring services to an even higher level and to draw interest of new guests from Europe and overseas to the unique combination of health and cultural tourism. During the kick-off meeting in Rome and Chianciano Terme, international travel packages for visitors from Europe and abroad are discussed and further developed. In addition, the common communication activities are planned. These include – among others – a multi-lingual website, social media communication as well as print publications. The three main partners of “Roman Thermal Spas of Europe” are The European Spas Association (ESPA), FIT Reisen, a tour operator specialized in health and wellness tourism, and EuropeSpa, an international quality and certification system for medical spa and wellness.

Including Chianciano Terme in Italy there are eight national spas, health resorts and associations from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Portugal and Romania. “Roman Thermal Spas of Europe” is thus the first project uniting a variety of spas and health resorts across Europe that share a common Roman heritage.

The project is co-funded by the European Union. After completion it will be transferred into a marketing cooperation open to other thermal spas with Roman heritage.

But more broadly, what constitutes a top quality spa programme? ESPA – the European Spas Association – has launched the international quality seals “EuropeSpamed” and “EuropeSpa wellness” in conjunction with leading experts to boost international transparency and fairness in competition. The EuropeSpa criteria focus on safety, hygiene and therapy infrastructure (EuropeSpa med – for medical spas) and safety, hygiene and wellness infrastructure plus service quality (EuropeSpa wellness – for wellness hotels, hotel spas, thermal spas or day spas).

The certificates give good spa facilities in the health- and wellness sector an international platform bringing them to the attention of tourists, tour operators and health insurance companies all over Europe via the EuropeSpa directory at “www.EuropeSpa.eu”, which lists all the EuropeSpa med and EuropeSpa wellness certified spas.