This dissertation has been written by Raluca Paris as part of the final phase for the master course program “Tourism Destination Management” of NHTV Breda, University of Applied science. As the global Spa Industry is becoming a highly demanded form of tourism, it is hard to understand if such a product is a real benefit to the market, or just another hyped trend, which will soon fade. As a study case, two destinations from Romania were analysed, in order to see if such an industry can apply and increase tourism demand, income and revenue. For the purpose of this research, the following aim was set:

‘The aim of this report is to conduct research on the importance and relevance of the health and spa industry in the tourism markets (local and international) of Romania and to discover if this sector is capable of boosting Romanian tourism and create a link towards other forms of tourism. In addition, recommendations for the stakeholders in the area of interest will be provided, for future development.’

The subsequent research questions were formulate and applied in order to create a clear research:

  • How and why did the Spa industry become a global tourism business?
  • What are the existing conditions of tourism in Romania? Can the Spa industry benefit this country?
  • Depending on the assessment made from both primary and secondary research, can the Spa industry be considered an opportunity for the destinations? If so, in which of the locations will it be more efficient?
  • What advice and recommendation can be given to the existing and future investing stakeholders, taking into consideration the destinations market interest, location, facilities?

The methods used for this research consisted in using materials from secondary/desk research, found in specialised books, journals, reports, local media, internet and databases from NHTV and outside sources. Primary was also conducted, under the form of a survey with tourists from both local and international market. A sample of 50 interviewees was collected, in attempt to have insight on what determines people to choose certain destinations for their holiday. Stakeholders were analysed as well. Since every research is restricted by certain limitations, these should be taken into account when reading this study.

First of all, research was made for presenting a picture of the current Spa Industry and how it came to be. Secondly, a current image upon the situation in Romania was made, mentioning current development strategies for tourism. A comparison between popular Spa destinations was made, two of which were standing out and were chosen for further investigation. After the secondary and primary research results came into focus, it was possible to decide which destination presented more interest for the market.

Recommendations were provided according to the current landscape and stakeholder implication: keeping to the developed strategies and plans and bringing the destination to European levels was suggested, by developing and modernising the infrastructure. Educating the society, but also the government in becoming more transparent and involved was also a recommendation. Finally, creating a special brand for the destination was advised, so that markets recognise it and remember it.

You can download the entire TDM Master Thesis by Raluca Paris.