Czech spas - attracting visitors from around the world

Karlovy Vary, photo: CzechTourism

Karlovy Vary - the biggest and most elegant Czech spa town - is hosting an annual balneology fair this week. For the uninitiated, that means a fair looking at issues connected with spas. Going for spa cure is something deeply rooted in Central European culture. This year the event includes a conference about the economic aspects of balneology. Spa doctors and managers are discussing conditions in the business in the Czech Republic following the enlargement of the European Union.

Karlovy Vary, photo: CzechTourism
Balneology or Spa treatment is a big business in the Czech Republic. Cures from thermal springs have a long tradition in this country dating back several centuries. The most famous Czech Spa towns like Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad) or Marianske Lazne (Marienbad) have an international reputation and are visited by clients from all over the world. This is confirmed by the mayor of Karlovy Vary Zdenek Roubinek.

"Karlovy Vary has a very important product - the mineral waters. We have twelve or thirteen springs - it is the most important thing in spa treatment in our beautiful city. In some other cities in the Czech Republic, like Trebon or Pardubice the situation is a bit different; so they focus e.g. on sport."

Karlovy Vary, photo: CzechTourism
The city of Karlovy Vary has become extremely popular especially among visitors from Russia. Many rich Russians even buy properties there and have settled in the town. But as mayor Roubinek points out, interest in Karlovy Vary has risen in last years among visitors from other countries too.

"We have many guests from 80 countries, like Russia, Germany (22.000 guests), the United States...."

Czech spas are also popular among visitors from the Arab world. Dr. Fayz S. Al-Shahry came with a group of Saudi physiotherapists to discover more about the possibilities for treating their patients at Czech spas.

"A lot of our clients came back from the Czech Republic, and they told us about different mechanisms of treatment. That made us to inquire a lot about the treatment approach. We thought that the western medicine is doing the best service for the patients. We see the treatment style in the Czech Republic as a mixture of the western medicine and some aspects of the eastern approach, plus the psychological reflections including the response of the patient on the treatment."

Marianske Lazne, photo: CzechTourism
Josef Zieleniec who is a Czech deputy in the European Parliament believes that the spa industry will have an even better chance to develop now that the Czech Republic has joined the EU.

"Openness of the borders as well as standard type of all services provides environment which is accepted as a European Standard. This gives the needed guarantees for clients, especially from Europe, but also from other parts of the world, that what they obtain here is a high class standard. And that is important."

So, with the growing stresses of life today, it looks as though the Czech spas will continue to thrive as an oasis of calm.