Greater IT support for spa tourism and e-health

The IT Spa Tourism project is supporting health, tourism and culture in the Greek-Bulgarian border area by creating an integrated IT system for spa tourism and e-health services. This should allow municipalities to operate hot springs as health tourism centres offering comprehensive services, and to provide online booking and customer reviews, with a view to attracting more tourists, including from abroad.

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" This project concerns the installation and operation of innovative information technologies in order to improve the tourist product supplied by hot springs, to increase their competitive advantage over other forms of tourism and to promote hot springs in border areas and creation of joint tourism packages. The e-Health system is a step towards conversion of spas to health tourism centres able to provide comprehensive services throughout the year. "

Panayiotis Zafeiriou, President of the Hellenic Association of Municipalities and Communities of Curative Springs and Spas

Development of a modern communication channel has led to creation of a network of spas on both sides of the border. A particularity of the project is that it provides a single integrated information environment with innovative functions and services for different target groups, such as people with special needs and the elderly. A central internet portal hosts promotional content and details of project activities, while a central platform giving access to a range of systems and subsystems supports upgrade of customer services.

The project comprises six actions. The interactive internet portal hosts navigation tools, and subsystems for interactive services and certification of users, while the e-tourism system hosts subsystems for tourist service and spa centre management, online reservation and rental of special equipment.

Immediate information for visitors

The immediate information system informs visitors about hot springs in the area and the e-health system gives access to a central health platform, details of regional e-health information points and a user device management subsystem. Steps to develop and implement comprehensive tourist packages have included creation of a common residence card for all spas in the network and publicity and information actions have also been undertaken.

The project is raising awareness of environmental, commercial and social issues linked to spa tourism, encouraging online access to health services and making spa tourism more accessible. Rising demand for spa treatment has led to increased investment in, and expansion of, spas in the region, providing opportunities for growth and job creation and incentives to visit spas.

Spa tourism is an important source of income for Greece and Bulgaria and has significant economic benefits, such as a year-round tourist season. Innovative IT use should give spas a competitive advantage.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “IT Spa Tourism” is EUR 1 578 868, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 1 342 038 from the Operational Programme “Greece - Bulgaria” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period.

Draft date