Over the past few years Europeans have become more and more aware of their health. Changing demographics and increasing life expectancy are creating new challenges for our health systems. These developments have led to an intensifying demand for a qualitatively high standard of health services. Spas and health resorts have an important role to play in this. They link health support, prevention and rehabilitation in an effective way.

The European Spas Association (ESPA) represents 25 member federations from 22 European nations, together representing over 1,200 spas and health resorts. They not only offer health services; they are also often a crucial economic factor and important employer in infrastructure-weak regions.

ESPA is involved in other areas beyond its members’ own immediate interests, working towards European standards to improve and/or guarantee the quality of spas and health resorts. ESPA also focuses on making special offers for clients more transparent, thus improving customer relations, and finally developing networks to strengthen the exchange of knowledge and experience.

The primary goal of the Association is the protection of our members’ interests. Basic economic conditions are increasingly being specified at the European level. Tourism and health do not rank among the main concerns of the European Union. Nonetheless, the EU often directly affects them. The governments of the member states are frequently only responsible for implementing the edicts from Brussels. Effective influence at the European level is therefore only possible in Brussels.

In the last few years, ESPA has successfully achieved a high profile in the European capital. The Association maintains good contacts with the European Parliament and the European Commission, and is recognized as a competent partner.

ESPA members can profit greatly from the good work in this area. As part of the Association’s network they not only influence its own activities; innovative ideas and concepts, as well as synergies, can open up new business opportunities for them; in addition, they can gather information relevant to their business. This affects other aspects: European Union programmes and projects, promotions, investments or the latest trends; certification serves as proof of quality and attracts new customers.