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    • On average, the human body consists of 67% water. It is therefore not surprising that water also plays a decisive role in terms of health.

      The beneficial warmth of moor, fango and mud was discovered early on. Mud baths were documented as a natural remedy as early as the 14th century.

      The climate has long had a major influence on well-being. Those seeking relaxation are most likely to find it in an environment with a balanced temperature and constant humidity.

      Kneipp cures are probably among the best-known water treatments. However, Kneipp therapy also includes nutrition, herbs, exercise and inner balance in addition to the water pillar.

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January 11, 2024

Guest numbers in spas and health resorts almost at pre-pandemic level of 2019

  • Survey by the Spa Association among member companies in the country confirms: 42% will invest in their infrastructure in 2024
  • Guest structure is changing: more young people, fewer group trips
  • Clinic occupancy still below 2019 – RV parking and camping sites up


STUTTGART. The spas and health resorts in Baden-Württemberg are cautiously optimistic about the new year. "We have not yet reached the pre-pandemic level of 2019, but thanks to new offers we are moving in that direction again," stressed the President of the Baden-Württemberg Spa Association, Fritz Link, at the CMT 2024 trade fair. While tourism in general has recovered well in the state, the clinics in particular are still suffering from a lack of guest numbers. Around a quarter fewer foreign guests is also having a negative impact. The association is pleased: "Our guest structure is getting younger and people are looking for more opportunities in nature and relaxation. We have tailor-made offers here," says Fritz Link.

The year 2019 was one of the strongest years for tourism in Baden-Württemberg to date. The spas and health resorts were also able to report good figures this year before the outbreak of the pandemic. "Since we had to constantly adapt and adjust in the years before due to various health reforms, the number of guests before the pandemic was a blessing for the spas and health resorts, especially in the market of self-paying guests," the President of the Spa Association looks back.

A recent survey of member companies from last December now paints a new picture. Half of those surveyed confirmed that their guest structure was the same as in 2019 and that the Corona years had essentially not brought about any changes. However, 29% do not want to share this opinion and do notice changes. "A rejuvenation of guests is mentioned as a positive, while declines in group travel and in the business travel segment are a negative," says Fritz Link, adding: "In many places, clinics and our package deals in particular have not yet been able to reach the pre-pandemic occupancy level. On the other hand, mobile home parking and camping sites, hotels and nature-based activities are seeing more positive developments." These are in greater demand than was the case before the pandemic.

This development is no coincidence. Even during the pandemic, it was noticeable that nature-based and individual leisure and travel offers were becoming more popular with the public. "Due to the pandemic, this development was understandable. And our facilities reacted quickly to this and developed new tourist offers in the spas and health resorts," explains the president. In particular, nature and outdoor offers such as outdoor enjoyment experiences, expansion of the path network infrastructure, forest bathing or yoga in nature, outdoor overnight stays, nature tours, special offers for families and RVers as well as mindfulness offers for work-life balance have been added to the portfolio in many places. "This has paid off and is ensuring a rejuvenation of the guest structure."

Fritz Link describes the mood in the industry as "cautiously optimistic". A third of those surveyed could report an increase in bookings for 2024 compared to the previous year; 63% were at the same level as the previous year, but four percent below. On a scale of 0=positive to 10=negative, the spas and health resorts rate their economic prospects this year at an average of 3.6. Link gives reasons for this positive assessment: He attributes this to an increasing sensitivity to health, the increased search for short breaks, the growing interest in well-being and relaxation as well as in domestic holidays. "Negative influencing factors remain price sensitivity and inflation, the shortage of staff and skilled workers and the resulting closures of restaurants and accommodation establishments in the spas and health resorts," said the president.

This can only be counteracted by further increasing the attractiveness of the spas and health resorts and by tailor-made offers for the various target groups. "That is why I am pleased with the clear statement from 42% of our members who will invest in their tourist infrastructure this year." This includes renovations to buildings and technology or the installation of PV systems as well as the renewal of signage or the designation of new hiking trails. "Many tourist trends have already been implemented in our facilities or will be this year. These include, for example, new themed hiking trails, modernized spa and wellness facilities, new offers such as self-care weeks or offers for stress resilience, with which we specifically address companies for health and relaxation-oriented compensation offers." But Fritz Link was also able to name the optimization of service quality, the improvement of the sustainability balance and digital extensions through online booking or city tours with virtual reality elements as positive examples in the catalog of trend-oriented measures in the spas and health resorts. 


Spas and health resorts in Baden-Württemberg