Tuesday, 3 June 2014

WelDest in Denmark – the 19th annual ESPA congress in Vejle

Does your destination have the potential to become a health and well-being destination? What are its strengths? What is it lacking? And how can it improve? These and other questions are being addressed by the 5-country consortium making up the WelDest project team.

The WelDest project (co-financed by Erasmus/LLP), focusing on the development of Health and Well-being tourism destinations, was represented at the ESPA congress this May at the beautiful Hotel Vejleford in Vejle, Denmark. This was the 19th year of the Congress for the members of ESPA, which acts as an umbrella organization promoting spas and balneology in Europe. The congress offered presentations and workshops for members and other attendees as well as a forum for networking, and other events.

Donna Dvorak, from the Institute of Hospitality Management in Prague, spoke to ESPA members and congress attendees about the results of the project and the creation of the 2 key outputs – the e-handbook and the self-assessment tool. These are being formed on the basis of primary and secondary research conducted by the WelDest team, and will serve both students and those already working in the industry. The e-handbook will provide both a theoretical background for the important concepts and ideas in the development of a health and well-being destination, as well as practical tips and guidance for those in the industry, all illustrated by the most relevant and up-to-date case studies from around Europe and various parts of the world.

Accompanying the e-handbook is the self-assessment tool, an Excel-based instrument covering 68 points divided into 7 chapters intended to aid destinations in determining where they lie on the path to becoming a H&WB destination. Those involved in the management and development of the destination can use the tool to generate results indicating how far away they are from becoming a H&WB destination, and what management or development activities need to be undertaken to achieve this.

The WelDest team would like to thank ESPA for their invitation to the congress and the opportunity to familiarize such an important and influential audience with the work it has been doing. It was an honor to be represented in Vejle, and we look forward to future opportunities for mutual support and cooperation.