ESPA, the umbrella organization of European health tourism, comprises 21 member countries, which are homes to destination spas and institutes for research and education in the fields of medical and wellness tourism. The congress this year was held at the convention center of Terme Tuhelj, the largest destination spa in Croatia, in a region of the country that is blessed with numerous hot springs.
The annual event brings together representatives of individual spas, as well as regional associations, for sessions dedicated to best practices in the health tourism sector, understanding trends and challenges facing providers of wellness tourism services, and the development of new niche markets through innovation. In many European countries, health resorts and medical services can account for up to 25% of revenue from tourism – big business indeed.
This year, the ESPA Congress invited guests from North America, China, Russia and Israel to share with attendees tips on how spas can attract new visitors from these desirable markets. As an additional aspect of their outreach, ESPA invited a delegation of foreign journalists from these same countries, plus a few more, to cover the congress, as well as to learn firsthand about health and medical tourism in Croatia.