Shifting towards nature-focused development of spa potential

Észak-Alföld/Northern Great Plain and Észak-Magyarország/Northern Hungary

Main challenges and aim:

Harmonizing tourism and health industry goals with natural value preservation, Hungarian project partners are committed to serve the objectives of two Hungarian counties providing impact even on a wider range of communities. Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén and Hajdú-Bihar counties have a rich spa potential provided by their numerous thermal bath complexes and some specialized spa municipalities; intensifying the cooperation of research institutions, municipalities, nature protection authorities/organisations as well as business actors and clusters in this special spa-nature related issue could be a great advantage; cross-fertilisation can have  long-term effect not only at county but hopefully national and/or cross-border level as well.

The key steps:

In strong cooperation with relevant stakeholders, the following steps were made: 

•             gathering, assessing and capitalizing available national/regional sustainable spa development solutions where nature preservation / ground water protection is highlighted – this task covers the survey on completed and ongoing international / national / regional / local projects, initiations, measures or actions

•             following the identification of impacts/threats on nature, partners focus on and define specific demands aligned with national and regional theme-specific social and economic objectives (particularly health industry – concentrating on natural assets, tourism aspects, social inclusion, entrepreneurship development, healthy society)

•             setting-up Green Spa Network for Eastern Hungary, uniting committed spas towards sustainable development, continuous knowledge, good practice exchange and creative solutions and also green service provisions, to be maintained beyond the project lifetime

•             from potential to opportunity: common development of Sustainable Spa Development Concept to be applied for both counties covering even national needs – the document serve as a framework for further exploitation of spa potential with specific focus on decreasing environmental burdens, improving the efficiency of nature preservation and increasing biodiversity.

Main indicators:

Indicators depend on the specificity of the action e.g. experts participating in the action; number of meetings/workshops; number of reports/expertises

•             Number of experts and stakeholders working together in the Regional Stakeholder Group

•             Situation analysis on available sustainable spa development solutions

•             Event to prepare the setting-up of the Green Spa Network for Eastern Hungary

•             Testing the common tool to assess threats and pressures on main spas

•             Methodology to develop the Sustainable Spa Development Concept

•             1-day event for the Green Spa Network for Eastern Hungary

•             Sustainable Spa Development Concept

What is new?:

•             Joint engagement and practical collaboration of actors representing different organisations and counties

•             Newly gained and developed information on threats concerning thermal assets of the two counties

Local results of the pilot action:

•             improved knowledge and experience to turn towards sustainable spa culture

•             dedicated expert and operational team to support green spa initiatives

•             newly gained information on potential and actual threats on thermal asset


Contribution of a sustainable development:

Looking further on the upcoming definition of economic, spatial, social and environmental planning procedures concerning the two counties, the results achieved through HealingPlaces are expected to efficiently serve a more nature conscious, responsible and particularly sustainable future vision of the wonderful spa heritage and potential. 

The transnational added value:

•             widely applicable sustainable spa development concept

•             method to develop a spa development concept

•             new ways to create and maintain professional networks in spa industry

•             successful engagement of municipality leaders to green solutions in spa and health industry

More information on the Hungarian Pilot Action:

Infographic of Hungarian Pilot Action

Hungarian Pilot Action videos:
Green Spa Network of Eastern Hungary - SPAs and future vision
Green Spa Network of Eastern Hungary - Municipalities & local development