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11 Jul 2013

GSWS to host first global hot spring forum

BY Aoife Dowling

The Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) is set to hold the first-ever global gathering of hot springs operators and industry leaders. The event will take place on 7 October during the seventh annual Summit in New Delhi, India.

The Global Hot Springs Forum is expected to attract representatives from India, Japan, China, the US, Europe, New Zealand and Australia to share experiences and perspectives on this growing industry sector.

According to co-organiser Charles Davidson, from Peninsula Hot Springs in Australia, the Forum will include presentations and open discussions on how the best hot springs operators in the world’s most competitive markets build profitable spa, bathing and accommodation businesses; which evidence-based studies in hot springs bathing practices provide proof of the health benefits of hot springs; and the various ways cultures use natural hot water for health, wellbeing and community happiness.

In a study conducted for the GSWS, SRI International defined a hot springs spa as a “day-use spa facility with an on-site source of natural mineral, thermal or sea water that is used in spa treatments. Stay spas that use an on-site source of mineral, thermal or sea water for treatments are classified as hotel/resort spas or destination spas/health resorts, depending on their characteristics.”

Davidson said: “Hot springs have been experiencing a renaissance in many countries of the world,”

“In China, in 2012, hot springs became one of the 10 pillars of focus for the national tourism organisation, and in Japan, hot springs represent the single largest sector of the domestic tourism industry. The Forum will give us a unique opportunity to look at ways of harnessing this growth and sharing the potential at a global level.”

The Forum will also address how continuing, significant expansion in hot springs usage will impact resource management and sustainability.

Davidson noted that while some countries have clear regulations and guidelines surrounding hot springs resource utilisation, most do not. “Generating global best practice guidelines is something that is relevant for all nations and for the long-term evolution of the industry. The Global Hot Springs Forum is a location where this issue can be considered and solutions discussed,” he said.

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