European Spas & Balneology Congress 2023




14:00 – 16:30  ESPA Board Meeting (only with invitation)
17:00 – 18:00  ESPA General Assembly (only with invitation)


18:30 World record – We want to set a record: the highest number of people drinking healing mineral water at the same time. We ask all participants to drink from the traditional glass in front of the picturesque Colonnade building, which we would like to capture in a photo “Drinking for Health”.

19:30 – 21:30 Get-together Event to welcome all Participants (Hosted Buyers and Exhibitor, Congress participants and special Guest, media partners)
Venue: Cisarske lazne/spa –  Imperial (Kaiserbad) Spa  
Feel like James Bond at the Casino Royale film set and be one of the first guests after a long renovation of this historical building. Dress code: Semi-formal




Venue: Hotel Thermal

09:30 –10:30  Grand Opening with

  • Ivan Bartoš, Minister for Regional Development
  • Petr Kulhánek, Governor of the Karlovy Vary Region
  • Andrea Pfeffer Ferklová, Mayor of Karlovy Vary
  • Thierry Dubois, President European Spas Association
  • Eduard Bláha, President of the Association of Medical Spas of the Czech Republic
  • Josef Pavlovic, Deputy Minister of Health

10:30 – 11:00  Coffee break

11:00 – 12:00 Keynote speakers from healthcare business, media and medicine

  • Jakub Hlávka, The Aging Population: Opportunities and Challenges for the Healthcare System
  • Karel Kovář, Online media in the health tourism
  • Richard Češka, The role of internal Medicine and preventive cardiology in balneology  

12:00 – 12:20  Q&A

12:20 – 12:30 Petra Lelovská, Vice President Ensana Hotels

12:30 – 14:00 Lunch 

12:30 – 13:00 separate room – Press conference (only invitation)

14:00 – 15:30 Parallel sessions ESPA, BALNEO, MAYORS    

ESPA EU Health Policy

Panel Discussion with representatives of WHO, UNWTO, ESPA The future of the health resorts and new pathways of cooperation

  • Nina Kušar, Senior Project Specialist Regional Department for Europe World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
  • István Újhelyi MEP EU, Vice-President of the TRAN Committee, Ambassador of the UNWTO in the EU Parliament (video)
  • Todorka Kostadinova, Medical Univesity Varna, Stakeholders Management, new fields for cooperation and new partners – European Health Management Association
  • Representative of  EU working group and WHO Section Traditional Medicine (TBD)
  • Sven Aerts, ESPA EU Health Policy Adviser, EU Long-Covid strategy and involvement of medical spas


Objectification of the spa comprehensive treatment and new trends in the spa and balneology

  • Ladislav Špišák, Institute of Spa and Balneology, Is the independent drinking cure of Carsbad springs sufficiently effective?
  • Ildikó Tefner ISMH Secretary General,The effects of immersion in 42℃ radon, natrium, calcium, bicarbonate content thermal‑mineral water on chronic low back pain.  
  • Boris Bánovský, Medical Director of Ensana Health Spa Hotels, The results of spa medicine in “Parkinson and Well” Project
  • Partick Carpentier, University Grenoble, Efficacy of balneotherapy in severe chronic venous diseases
  • Patrick Bensen, Leaders of Tomorrow Institute Inc.,The AI Brain Imaging: Monitoring patient progress, Collecting Data for research, Monitoring Staff Wellbeing
MAYOR’S Meeting & Panel discussions – Economic aspects of spa towns (with translation Czech-English)
  • Host and Welcome by Mayoress of Karlovy Vary, Andrea Pfeffer Ferklová, Kurtax in CZ
  • Brigitte Goertz-Meissner, President German Spa Association and Deutsche Zentrale für Tourismus,Economic Importance of Spas and Health Resorts in Germany and Financing of the Personnel and Cost-intensive Health Infrastructure
  • Georg Steckenbauer, Professor Economy in Tourism ,The success of thermal spas is a question of strategy: Success factors of health destinations
  • Christoph Köstinger, Director of Gasteiner Heilstollen – Economic and structural impact of spas in Gastein Region, Austria 

15:30 – 15:45  Coffee break

15:45 – 17:15 Parallel sessions

ESPA – Sales strategy and sales channels in the spa industry 

  • Jan Herget, CEO of  Czech Tourism, Successful international campaign, niche and special PR activities
  • Barbara Zmrzlikar, Head of Department, Slovenian Tourist Board, How a traditional market promotes health tourism
  • Richard Šipoš,, The role of online booking tools and support by sales
  • Radek Lauryn, Executive director of LAURYN s.r.o., Prior experience and recommendations in the automatization of selling spa stays online
  • Online session with TERMATALIA URUGUAY, The international perspectives of spa resorts

BALNEOLOGY Post-covid syndrome – treatment options in medical spas

  • Sven Aerts, Long- Covid stRRRRategy and involVEment  of the European Spas Association
  • Aleš Příhoda, Royal Spa, Long COVID Treatment Using MLS Laser Therapy at the Medical Spa
  • Karl-Ludwig Resch, Balneology Institute Germany, Essential features of an effective Long Covid program
  • Mihaela Cucu, Medical Director Ana Health Spa, Post/long Covid treatment in Romanian Spas
  • Discussion with moderation Sven Aerts with participants about possible cooperation in the EU long-Covid strategy

MAYORS & Panel discussions about Tourism perspectives, goal of Balneology research centre 

(with translation Czech-English)
  • Panel Discussion and exchange of existing Balneology Centres in Europe – praxis, founding, structure, scientific team
  • Stefan Szirucsek, Mayor Baden bei Wien, GSTE as an exceptional spa destination, cooperation 
  • Josef Dlohoš, Tourism Office of Karlovy Vary focused on campaign #pijuprameny
  • János Torbágyi, head of Brand at Intesputnik LTd. How to create events and art in spas to attract new target groups
  • Thomas Bömkes, managing director, Diversity Tourism,  Strategic Marketing – A Key Factor For Succesful Health Destinations

19:00 – 23:00  ESPA Innovation Award Ceremony with a Gala Dinner Venue: Grandhotel Pupp

The traditional ESPA Innovation Award ceremony and Gala Dinner will take place in the famous Grand Hotel Pupp, the iconic hotel and architectural jewel of Karlovy Vary.  The Grandhotel Pupp is a luxurious setting that has been a meeting place and entertainment venue and synonymous with first-class hospitality for more than three centuries. Get your Spa Industry Award where the celebrities of Karlovy Vary Film Festival winners usually come in. Dress code: Cocktail / Gala


8:00 Practical workshop – the governor of Karlovy Vary invites you to a special morning run

9:30 -11:00 Parallel sessions   

ESPA – The best examples, trends of entrepreneurship in the spa business

  • Julien Prince CEO of La Roche Posay: Innovation Award winner 2023, sustainable spa and new management structures
  • Daniel Fajkus, Falkensteiner Spa Resort, Cause instead of symptoms, holistic approach to healing in Spas
  • Rakesh Zope, Sri Sri Tattva Europe, Éva Ruzicska Ensana Budapest, The international fusion in the health resorts, integration of ayurveda and spa medicine 
  • Clara Fernandez-Porta, Rx Longevity, Prevention in medical spas- unique facilities to solve healthcare problems of aging population
  • Mike Wallace, Trends and new demand in health tourism  

BALNEOLOGY – Role of balneology in physical/Mental health prevention

  • Alina Huseynli, Institute of Spa and Balneology, The concept of the spa therapeutic landscape
  • Lolita Rapolienė, Klaipėda University, Natural resources – in the fight against stress
  • Dobroslava Jandová, Charles University Prague, Psycho – neuro – immunology – indispensable base of balneotherapy
  • Janka Zálešáková, Slovak Spas Association, Burnout syndrome as new diagnosis in medical spas – psychosomatic approach 

MAYOR – Excursion and panel discussions about Therapeutic landscape,

9:15 in the field and visit Spa Forests and Parks of Karlovy Vary with Christopher Pound and Petr Kulhánek, Governor of the Karlovy Vary Region, VENUE: meeting point of the boarding station of the Diana cable car 

11:15 – 12:45 ESPA/BALNEOLOGY – Environmental sciences and sustainability, effectiveness in the spa regions

  • Iztok Altbauer, Slovenien Spas, The GREEN wellness route and publicity of new products
  • Zdenek Třískala, Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic,Spa destinations – advanced society incubator 
  • Martin Přibyl, engineer, Spa Lázně Jáchymov, Jáchymov Mining Therapeutic Landscape
  • with Moderation Tomáš Vylita, Institute of Spa and Balneology, Hydrogeological conditions of acidulous waters in infiltration zone of Carlsbad and Marienbad 

13:00 – 14:00 GRAND FINAL ceremony and messages by KARLOVY VARY DECLARATION 

with Participation of Martin Dvořák, Minister for European Affairs 

14:00 – 15:30 Lunch and network from 15h EXCURSIONS to three spa towns. See the registration for all details