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SPAcious, Precious SPA

Date: 15.06.2009

The world may have not yet given a clear definition of the term SPA, but it is more than happy to enjoy its relaxing and regenerating effects. Bulgaria has experienced a boom in its SPA industry over the last three years and the odds are that the sector will continue to flourish.

The first modern balneo-SPA hotels in Bulgaria were built in the towns of Devin and Velingrad, while now they are mushrooming across the country together with the creation of SPA centers in hotels, the most attractive of which are those along the Black Sea coast. The foundation on which this booming industry thrives is a wealth of springs of healing mineral waters.

It is namely the wide use of mineral waters that makes the Bulgarian variation of the SPA culture unique as compared to the Russian bath, the Turkish bath, the Scandinavian sauna or the Asian massage centers. The effects are beneficial not only for the man who suffers from a particular illness but also for those who is considered healthy but wants to shed the side effects of a stressful and hectic life. Lack of mineral water at a SPA center location does not spell its death, but the recreational and preventive programs on offer are limited and not that efficient.

The SPA culture in Europe dates back to the beginning of the last century when balneotherapy establishments were called SPA. Today the word encompasses new and much more fresh meanings, associated with relax and recreation. A typical line is that when a man has no doubts about his love to a woman, he should give her a diamond ring. And he has any doubts, he should give her a voucher for a SPA center - it will cost incomparably cheaper - from BGN 60 to BGN 120 and may even make the diamond ring redundant!

Wine, peat-moss, extracts from half-precious stones, SPA cosmetics aromatic oils, even coffee, tea and chocolate are among the products used in SPA therapies. Natural - this is what all these products have in common, even though some of them may conjure up more appealing associations than others. Regardless of the products and methods used, the bottomline is always the same - the client feels younger, fresher, reborn.

Local experts have however recently struck a much more down-to-earth note by pointing out to the lack of strategy for the future of balneo-SPA tourism, legislation and norms in staff recruiting and training.

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