The Importance of Thermal Towns in 21st century Europe.
During the conference in Brussels, Manuel Baltar, the president of Partenalia exhorted, "the political forces of the future Parliament and the new European Commission to support historic thermal towns"
He affirmed that thermal territories "are instrumental in reaching crucial objectives such as the demographic challenge, the sustainability of the interior of Europe and the development of tourism based on well-being, shared cultural heritage and natural resources"
President Baltar stressed that thermal towns "are fundamental for the history and the construction of European identity", and proposed that the European Parliament declare October 12th the "International Day of Thermalism", in reference to this event held for the first time in Budapest on that date in 2018
The meeting, which brought together members of Partenalia, EHTTA, CEPLI and the European Parliament for the first time, aimed to raise awareness among European institutions and political groups on the need to support thermal policies and on the importance of thermal towns in Europe. as economic stimulators, especially with regards to the rural areas
The Jacques Delors Building of the Committee of the Regions hosted this summit -which coincided with the World Water Day-, which also analyzed the possibilities that the combination of avant-garde and traditional tourism entails with regards to attracting population and generating employment and competitiveness for rural territories in Europe.
President Baltar requested today at the Jacques Delors Building of the Committee of the Regions, in Brussels, "that the political forces of the future Parliament and the new European Commission support historic thermal towns ". The conference ended with the reading of the "European Thermal Declaration" by the president; a document that defends "a new model of sustainable tourism that would help address the demographic challenge and bolster the attraction of population in the rural areas", taking into account "The importance of thermal cities as an instrument of balance in European territorial development".
In his speech, President Baltar affirmed that the thermal territories " are instrumental in reaching objectives such as the demographic challenge, the sustainability of the European hinterland and the development of a tourism based on well-being, shared cultural heritage and natural resources", and stressed that thermal towns "are fundamental for the construction of European identity". In this regard, he proposed that the European Parliament declare October 12th the "International Day of Thermalism", in reference to the event held for the first time in Budapest on that date in 2018, and as an "emblem of the values of union between peoples through its history, its culture and the defence of the environment, personified in a fundamental good such as water, "he said.
The summit, which brought together for the first time members of Partenalia, the Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA), the European Confederation of Intermediate Local Authorities (CEPLI) and the European Parliament, aimed to raise awareness among the European institutions and political groups on the need to support thermal policies and on the importance of thermal villages in Europe as economic drivers, mainly in rural areas.
At the conference, which was held on the World Water Day, the possibilities that the combination of avant-garde and traditional tourism represent in addressing the demographic challenge and in the creation of employment and the bolstering of competitiveness for rural territories in Europe were also analysed.
The President thus defended the role played by thermal towns "in the socioeconomic drive, the improvement of the quality of life of the inhabitants and the development of a sustainable model of tourism based on the use of natural resources".
President Baltar highlighted the role of thermal towns "as places for creativity (music, fine arts, science, architecture and landscape design) and as an important factor for Europeanisation", also emphasizing its traditional importance "as places of political debate which were at the vanguard of the emerging vision of the future of Europe ".
"The management of historic thermal towns- said Baltar - is synonymous with the management of natural, cultural and intangible resources, as well as initiatives to contribute to a better quality of life, since the thermal villages are usually located in the most rural areas of Europe and have a greater natural potential ". In this area, he highlighted a research project in which the EHTTA participates and whose objective is to analyse the values and physical and cultural attributes of European spa cities, "to determine the potential for regeneration and economic development in places where economic conditions are difficult; a project for which we demand the support of the European institutions ", said President Baltar.
In political terms, the president defined the current situation in Europe as being at a "crossroads". "The different movements of the extreme right and extreme left are affecting the sense of European identity and the common future that we have built since the founding of the European Union in 1993, and the issue of the Brexit does not help to clarify the future,". The president concluded "It seems clear that we are at a crucial historical point, and that the next elections will be more important than ever for the future evolution of Europe."
The meeting, chaired by Manuel Baltar, also had the participation of Giuseppe Bellandi, president of the EHTTA; and Anne Pirard, local coordinator of the UNESCO project "Great Spas of Europe", as speakers; as well as with institutional representatives, representatives from Arco latino and thermalism experts from Belgium, Spain, Portugal and Italy. It was the first joint meeting between Partenalia and EHTTA.
Finally, the “What's Spa” project (proposal in the framework of the Horizon 2020 funding programme of the European Commission) was presented and the conference ended with the reading of the " European Thermal Declaration " by President Baltar.
For the full video of the conference, please visit: