THERMAL TOURISM IN GREECE
Tourism is the major source of income forGreece. It contributes significantly to the prosperity of the country, on small or larger variances.
Through the recent years, people’s need to improve their quality of life has predominated a need for improvement the way of life and health of the people. This could be achieved in combination with their pleasure which means WELL-BEING Thermal Tourism. Health problems are prevented and confronted through vacations.
Until now, this way of tourism is not widely spread, even though it is so important for the Greek economy. Its beneficial results have the ability of attracting many tourists.
Popular Thermal Spots inGreece
1) Thermae Sylla Spa in Edipsos: offers therapeutic programs as well as modern regeneration care and anti-stress based on thermal water (maintained building of 1897).
2) Vintage Spa in Loutraki: preserves a massive esthetic of 30’s and is especially popular cause of the beneficial elements of the thermal water.
3) “Thermalia spring” in Sidirokastro Serron.
4) Pozar baths in Pella: Underneath century-old planes in an overgrown gorge, beneficial waters gushed in the river with a temperature of 30-39oC. Swimming en plain air in the waterfalls of the river is a memorable experience.
5) Geras baths inLesvos: with a flavor of another season.
6) Therma inKos: hot beneficial water brooks formatted within the sea.
7) Hydrotherapeutic center in Kythnos.
8) Thermopyles and Kamena Vourla thermal springs.
9) For those who like mud-scrolling in order to gain health and euphoria, mud baths of Kyllini and Pikrolimni as well as Krinides in N. Greece are the best destination places.
Annually, thermal springs ofGreeceattract over 100.000 visitors.
Medicinal tourism is a modern and developing product in the field of tourist businesses which require continuous renewal because of antagonism.
On the subject of renewal we mean the modernization of the facilities, the development of local communities, specialist personnel and advertising.
Medicinal tourism can be divided into therapeutic tourism and tourism for relaxation purposes.
Therapeutic tourism, which is constantly developing in many European countries, includes everything connected to health, such as:
- medical check-ups
- special diet
- vitamin therapy
- herbal remedies
- specialized therapies, such as anti-smoking
- stress relief therapies
- kinetic therapy
- treatment of insomnia
- research into correct body posture, aesthetics etc.
- care and rehabilitation wards
Tourism for relaxation purposes includes non-medical activities such as:
- culture activities
- athletic activities
- aesthetic and relaxation services
An important part of the health tourism industry is the bottling and marketing of mineral water. There are many cosmetics manufacturers who use mineral water and clay as the basis of the cosmetics.
Also in the health tourism industry we can find various products either natural products or products made from some natural ingredients, whose production is based on traditional recipes. These products may contain herbs, natural therapeutic and aromatic plants, flowers, plant extracts, plant oils, seaweed, sponges, fish oils, plant based cosmetics, soap, etc., which are in increasing demand in recent years.
Medicinal tourism used to attract older and middle-aged people who wanted treatment. With the passing of time, however, medicinal tourism developed into a modern kind of tourism with more specializations, the use of new technology and increased activities.
The aim is for the patient to gradually become a tourist.
Today more and more young people in Europe and all over the world choose to take short breaks at thermal spa destinations for relaxation purposes.
There are many opportunities for health tourism in Greece mainly in rural areas where there is an excellent natural environment and climate. Unfortunately only 4-5 areas are developed.
As Greece is rich in thermal springs it would be an antagonistic country in the field of medicinal tourism which could combine conference tourism with recreational tourism which would prolong the tourist season.
This in turn would provide greater development in the country as a whole.
Despite the fact that Social Security offers thermal spa programs, this area is still underdeveloped. This may be due to the fact that a lot of antagonism comes from the pharmaceutical industry and also from doctors who are unwilling to recognize Hydrotherapy as a method of treatment.
Also the lack of advertising and information available to the public has also played a role in its decline.
THE BENEFITS OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE THERMAL SPA TOURISM
Thermal spa tourism is a type of tourism which can be developed all year round, thus prolonging the tourist season.
It is affected much less by adverse economic problems.
Given that most thermal springs in Greece are found outside large cities and also in areas which do not have any tourism, their development will boost the general tourist influx.
It will also increase job opportunities in the fields of medicine, hotel employees and specialized staff that will be necessary to the needs of local communities.
Another result of this development will also mean that the population of the area will find local work and Greek tourists will not need to turn to other more developed countries and local communities will have regular visitors.
SUGESTION OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE FIELD OF THE THERMAL SPAS
- The improvement of spa towns using modern equipment and a modernized infrastructure.
- The creation of a complexes – hotels – health centers
- General infrastructure: Suitable environment required for long stay tourist such as green areas, gardens, lakes, tennis court, athletics facilities etc.
- Specialize infrastructure: Suitable equipped therapy centers with specialist doctors, nursing, and technical stuff nutrition and exercise departments. In this way the hotel complexes will be able to offer holiday packages concerning beauty, good physical condition, physiotherapy units, diet, cosmetology, cultural events etc.
- Easy accessibility: the areas designated for long stay tourist centers must be close to airport and must have a god road network. In general a well organised transportation infrastructure aids in the development of natural resources.
- The development of local services such as bank, shops, restaurants, night clubs and also the development and support of the agricultural economy which will provide the area with whatever is necessary.
- Ensuring the quality of the environment: Most thermal spas are found in areas combining both mountains and excellent climatic conditions. The preservation of the natural environment in spa town tourist centers is of the utmost importance. It is well-known that the degradation of the environment a part from the destruction of its natural beauty also leads to the reduction of the competitiveness of the particular area on the tourist market.
- The development of the surrounding area: with spatial intervention such as urban planning construction and hotel facilities available to the people.
- Foundation of a specially aimed tourist organization: Organised tourist management will make the product more attractive as it will offer the security and safety that the tourist needs in order to decide upon a visit.
SPECIALIZED PROFESSIONS AT HYDROTHERAPY CENTERS
At hydrotherapy centers there is a need for specially trained stuff that has the ability to respond to its conditions.
A part from medical and nursing stuff and university trained physiotherapists, there are also training schools witch include educational courses on spa therapy specialists: spa therapy assistants and spa physiotherapy assistance for high school graduated called Professional Training Institutes (IEK).
Unfortunately it has been observed that large spa towns do not have programs for the training of specialized stuff.
GENERAL DESCRIPION OF SPECIALIZED PROFESSIONAL SPA-THERAPIST ASSISTANT
- 1. Assists the client’s understanding of hydrotherapy and satisfies his needs.
- 2. Comes into contact with the client-tourist, explain and instruct the process of spa therapy.
- 3. Contributes towards the completion of the spa therapy program.
- 4. Estimates the quality of the therapy and organizes the spa therapy programs.
- 5. Observe the spa therapy of the individual and reports problems which may appear during the baths to the head doctor. In the case of emergency, takes required action and offers the necessary help.
- 6. Checks necessary conditions (water temperature, heating, cleanliness etc.) before the use of spa therapy equipment by clients.
- 7. Adjusts the spa therapy equipment and uses the material according to the instructions given by the head doctor of the unit.
GENERAL DESCRIPION OF SPECIALIZED PROFESSIONAL SPA-THERAPIST- PHYSIOTHERAPIST ASSISTANT
- 1. Organizes and prepares the area and the equipment of his work place.
- 2. Instructs specialized staff on the treatment and handling of the disable.
- 3. Observes hygiene in the spa therapy areas.
- 4. Advises patient on rules of hygiene before and after therapy.
- 5. Provides first aid and applies a basic knowledge of resuscitation.
- 6. Stays with the patients during therapy and guides him through hydrotherapy area.
- 7. Applies the rehabilitation program for each patient according to the doctors. instructions.
- 8. Applies hydrotherapy techniques used to deal with injuries of the nervous and myoskeletal system as well as techniques used to deal with brain paralysis, rheumatic disorders, skin disorders and burns.
PROFESSIONS FOUND IN A SPA-THERAPY CENTRE
The needs of spa center concerning its workforce includes specialized staff and position which can be increased according to the development of the Centre.
- 1. Director of the Centre.
- 2. Managerial and secretarial staff.
- 3. Specialist doctors (orthopedists, pathologists, dieticians, etc.)
- 4. Nursing staff.
- 5. Hygiene assistants
- 6. Technical staff (electricians, plumbers etc.)
- 7. Beauticians.