Research identified the Challenges and Opportunities for Thermal & Medical Spas in the V4 Countries: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia

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Budapest Metropolitan University & Health Tourism Worldwide research highlights that thermal and medical spas in Czeck Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia recognize the growing popularity of wellness treatments especially among younger and foreign guests, but emphasis is still placed firstly on physical health restoration.

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Wellness treatments are growing in popularity especially among younger and foreign guests at thermal and medical spas, but emphasis is still placed firstly on physical health restoration.

The WellSpaV4 Project Team announces the results of their study: From Medical to Wellness: What is next for thermal & medical spas in Central and Eastern Europe?

Subtitle: Researchers identified the Challenges and Opportunities for Thermal & Medical Spas in the V4 Countries: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia

Project leader Dr Melanie Smith, Associate Professor at Budapest Metropolitan University & Co-founder of Health Tourism Worldwide and researchers Lucie Sobotkova, University of Pardubice (Czech Republic), Diana Dryglas, AGH University of Science and Technology (Poland) and Jan Derco, Technical University of Kosice (Slovakia) announce the release of their study titled “Challenges and Opportunities for Thermal & Medical Spas in the V4 Countries: Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia” (also known as V4 Countries).

A project closing event on 26th March from 9.00-16.00 will take place featuring:

  • Presentation of research data about the V4 countries
  • Keynote talks by international, regional and national spa experts
  • Discussion and debate about the future of thermal and medical spa development in the V4 region

To attend the event, please use the following Zoom link: https://zoom.us/j/93383050003 Meeting ID: 933 8305 0003 Passcode: 759590

The findings highlight similar challenges and opportunities that the thermal and medical spas share in the four countries. The key challenges are:

  • The problems of meeting quality standards for paying and international guests, but not being able to fund this through state or health insurance funds
  • State funding has been reduced since 1990 and the number of self-paying guests is slowly rising. EU funds have mainly helped with renovation and infrastructural developments
  • Low salaries and lack of education for employees and the difficulties of recruiting a qualified workforce
  • Addressing special needs of different segments of guests. There was a consensus that the main priorities should be infrastructural improvements followed by creating quality services for new, often self-paying or international guests

The key opportunities are:

  • Wellness treatments are growing in popularity especially among younger and foreign guests, but emphasis is still placed firstly on physical health restoration
  • Medical wellness, preventative care and healthy lifestyle advice is growing but is not yet well established
  • The main future challenges are connected to further infrastructure, service and quality improvements, for which constant monitoring is required, better segmentation as well as increasing digitalisation

Description of the Project
This project focused on thermal and medical spa development in the V4 region (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) and analysed the extent to which traditional spas are being adapted to attract and accommodate commercial (non-state-funded) guests and international tourists. This includes the development of infrastructure, the upgrading and regeneration of facilities, the improvement of service quality and the enhancement of visitor experiences. The potential for wellness services and health tourism are a major focus of the research. The project applied the Delphi approach consisting of two rounds of interviews with 28 thermal spa experts.

The project was funded by the Visegrad Fund (project ID: 22010060)

For more information about the project, please contact:
Dr Melanie Kay Smith, Budapest Metropolitan University, Email: msmith@metropolitan.hu

To access our reports in five languages plus information about our other publications, please visit this page: WellSpaV4 Project

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Laszlo Puczko
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