The Thermae Bath Spa is proving to be a significant driver of tourism for the ancient UK city of Bath, with nearly two thirds of visitors arriving in the region simply to experience the spa's roof-top pool and thermal waters.
A survey of visitors, carried out by South West Research Company, has revealed that the spa facility attracts an average of 260,000 visitors a year – with 61 per cent of these in town for the spa. 97 per cent of respondents also rated the spa as good or very good.
Having opened eight years ago, the spa has managed to overcome its teething problems – it launched four years late and £30m (US$48m, €38m) over budget – to now contribute £14.6m (US$24m, €18m) to the local economy each year.
There are also plans to reduce prices next year to entice even more visitors. There will be a £4 (US$6, €5) reduction for non-residents of Bath in 2015, making the price of a two-hour spa session, a towel, robe and slippers £32 (US$52, €41). Residents will receive a £7 (US$11, €9) reduction on their current rate for the same package – now priced at £24 (US$39, €30).
The Thermae Bath Spa
buildings are owned by Bath & North East Somerset Council.
YTL Hotels – the hospitality division of Malaysian infrastructure conglomerate YTL Corporation – and Bath-based utility company Wessex Water obtained the operating contract for the Thermae Bath Spa earlier this year for an undisclosed fee. Former operators Thermae Development Company ensured that the management takeover safeguarded the spa’s 170 employees’ jobs and the facility’s name. Eighty per cent of the 170 staff are residents of Bath.
The YTL Hotels’ subsidiary, Bath Hotel and Spa Limited (BHSL) operates the spa, in addition to the upcoming YTL-owned Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel
, opposite the Thermae Bath Spa. The Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel is set to open in the new year.
“The idea of reviving the [Thermae Bath Spa] in Bath was resurrected in the 1990s as a way of supporting the local economy,” Colin Skellet, chair of BHSL, told The Bath Chronicle
. “Now, in its eighth year of operations, it is clear that Thermae Bath Spa has gone a long way to achieving that aim.
“We are working very closely with local businesses, suppliers and Bath & North East Somerset Council to spread the economic benefits as widely as possible,” Skellet added.