In Bulgaria spa services are often identified with balneology. However, the two concepts differ. Balneotourism is intended to treat sick people for their restoration and maintenance and prevention of various diseases. Spa tourism (SPA – Sanus per aqua – “health through water”) and wellness (as opposed to “disease”) is aimed at people without health problems. The clients of these centers are in good health and financial situation and the purpose of their visits is relaxation and rapid recovery from stress.Of course, the good looks you gain from spa procedures are an aim too. The similarity between these two concepts is that they use methods of hydrotherapy. All services related to balneology, SPA, wellness, form the so called “health tourism”.
Urbanization and the increasing stress through the years lead to the development of new disease-related tension. In this respect people worldwide are focusing on keeping the human health. There is a tendency to return to nature and natural products of cosmetics and medical equipment. Balneological resorts have been honored since the Roman era. And Bulgaria has to offer a lot of them.
Many remains of baths and spa facilities are preserved near the springs in Kyustendil, Sofia, Hissar, Sapareva Banyaand other Bulgarian resorts. Now the World Health Organization focuses on health prevention issues. The logo is ”Health for all people through the gifts of nature – mineral water, sun and climate”. In Europe, the most popular tourism, in the last decade, is balneology. Bulgarian experts say that in the field of healing tourism, Bulgaria has little competition in Europe. Bulgaria’s unique healing qualities of mineral water and mud have no real equivalent in the Old Continent. In Bulgaria are combined cultural, ethnic, environmental, religious, rural and hunting potentials.With this combination of favorable factors in the country, Bulgaria can come boldly to the European market and make balneology to be very profitable branch of the tourism sector.
According to information published recently in famous newspaper, analysts believe that in 2010 the income of an average spa facility in Europe and North America will increase accordingly-about 1,3 million and 2,3 million dollars. In Bulgaria, forecasts for spa and wellness market are also optimistic and this is according to Dr. Bistra Dimitrova from the National Sports Academy. The last decade is marked by an explosive growth in the spa industry. She cites data from the Daily Times, according to which, the first sector to over come the crisis will be tourism and spa industry in particular. In May 2009 the Swiss leaders of the global spa industry have shared the same forecast as 33.8 percent of them stated that the spa and wellness businesses have increased their profits.