– Mrs Mezosi, the European Spas Association has spared no effort to establish health tourism as a key foundation in the fight to recover from the corona crisis, both physically and mentally for each of us. How satisfied are you with the achieved results?
– The European Spas Association is proud to be the best partner for our clients and patients even in this difficult day and our members could proof that we provide quality. I would like to mention 5 positive examples of positive activities: Change management due to a global health crisis.
1. In some countries, spas have been able to establish themselves as the second line for combating corona recovery and have proven to be an effective support for overcrowded hospitals.
2. Many members responded quickly by offering a specialized rehabilitation program for Covid-19 surviving patients according to the targeted health condition (e.g. respiratory, cardiovascular, mental health). See website
3. With an intensive exchange of information between our members, we could provide very useful information for negotiation with the Bulgarian Ministry of Health. Many member countries have succeeded in fighting the corona virus by implementing good practices from other countries and have generated favourable support for their patients.
4. In the case of the EU Recovery and Resilience Plan, ESPA has developed proposals and various versions in response to inquiries from the ESPA member states in order to integrate health tourism and balneology in the EU recovery Plan.
5. During many online conferences, as well as at ITB 2021, EU Health Policy Platform and on our own website (www.europeanspas.eu/en/corona-recovery-concept), ESPA could discuss this important topic through the competence of the new specialization for Post Corona Treatment.
– What else can and should be done so that as many people as possible can take advantage of the opportunities to improve their health through spa and spa treatment?
– Promotion, promotion, promotion for medical professionals and for our clients as well – which means also knowledge communication and explaining the advantages of using natural remedies. As EU citizens are demanding sustainability for the environment and nutrition – it’s time to focus on sustainable methods in medical treatment as well.
ESPA and members like BUBSPA have to find financial support to carry out medical evidence-based studies and to prove the positive medical effects of spa treatment and the cost saving effects of treatment that focuses on natural resources combined with modern medicine.
– What are the opportunities for Bulgaria to get involved in an extremely important process, namely the process of health and mental recovery of people in Europe after the pandemic?
– On the one hand, Bulgaria is very lucky to possess natural remedies in almost all of its regions, and Bulgaria was the only EU country without long and repeated lockdowns.
BUBSPA members responded fairly quickly and being aware of their advantages in terms of medical competence they developed and offered post corona programmes. Unfortunately, this action was not accurately recognized by the authorities. That is why probably few of those affected people know that they can recover better from Long-Covid in medical spas with professional support and with the benefit of natural remedies in green and unpoluted regions. My suggestion: Change the law, as other countries have done, and make healing possible for people who unfortunately need it very urgently.
– What are the main advantages of Bulgaria in terms of balneology and spa tourism?
– In my personal experience, and I stand behind this opinion, in recent years Bulgaria’s services have increased extremely quickly their quality standard, which is quite an impressive development that needs to be better communicated. This development includes investments in spa products and equipment that can be seen in spa hotels, and infrastructure as well. Congratulations for all these nice Flagships in Bulgarian Tourism.
I believe that the state should invest more in the overall infrastructure and in sustainable transport and energy, so that Bulgaria becomes a leading health resort destination.
– What are your ambitions for the development of the Association in the coming years?
– The President of ESPA and the Conseil National des Etablissements Thermaux (CNETh), Mr. Thierry Dubois, has taken a very important step with his team. This has to be on the agenda of all ESPA members and I am sure that BUBSPA will be a good partner to record the ECONOMIC IMPACT of health resorts and thus to collect the right data. With this evaluation, we can provide essential information for decision makers to invest and why providing any kind of support for medical spa and climate health resorts is the right way for several economic and social reasons: promote sustainable destination and the health of our citizens.
We must find a way to separate HEALTH TRAVEL from general tourism and promote it against any restrictions, so that it will not in any way be linked to general non-travel hysteria. The fundamental new idea: IT IS BETTER TO TRAVEL TO A SAFE HEALTH RESORT AND BALNEOLOGY CENTER THAN TO STAY AT HOME. We must clearly advocate the idea that, in these times of general collapse on the public health arena, taking care of one’s medical condition in a top-of-the-line European medical spas is actually the only wise decision for many patients.
ESPA would like to take this opportunity to thank Bgtourism.bg for the great contribution, as it represented and followed the topic of health tourism so well and always updated its readers about this important topic.