Tapping into Greece’s Thermal Springs for Tourism
Thermal springs in Greece can bring in tourism revenue and tourists all year round, according to experts attending a special event held on Tuesday in Athens marking World Water Day celebrated annually on March 22.
Over 50 members of the Hellenic Association of Municipalities with Thermal Springs presented their offerings at the event, which was attended by officials from the tourism, economy and finance ministries as well as sector professionals.
Stressing the significant role that the country’s thermal springs can play in the economic development of local communities, Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Mardas said it was vital to bring in foreign investors in order to upgrade the infrastructure and in the long run attract high income tourists.
There are currently more than 80 businesses offering hydrotherapy facilities across Greece, 38 of which are under municipal ownership, 37 run by individuals and seven by the state. More than 900,000 tickets were sold at these facilities in 2014, down compared to 2.5 million tickets sold in 2010, before the economic crisis.
Central Greece is home to 33.85 percent of the facilities with Central Macedonia coming second. The majority of Greece’s thermal spring facilities — 80 percent — have applied for recognition as natural healing units.
“The association views all hydropathy facilities as primary health care/treatment units, which influence each region’s cultural environment and are key to the economic development of local communities and related to local history and tradition”, John Karagiannis, president of the association explained.
Set up in 1983, the Thessaloniki-based Hellenic Association of Municipalities with Thermal Springs currently has 55 members and is working towards safeguarding and developing the country’s mineral-rich resources.