Destination spa privatisation

Centuries old tradition of spas in Southeast Europe

South-East Europe as well as Serbia are very rich with mineral waters used for convalescence from various illnesses, for health enhancement and for pleasure and joy. Some of them have been used as spa centres since Roman Times. Serbia alone has over 300 registered spa centres.

Wellness is a global tourism phenomenon that grows on average 10% per annum. There is ever increasing awareness that holiday time should be active and fulfilling (full of activities and health benefits) instead of passive lying on the beach, particularly for the middle aged well-funded population with a larger than average disposable income to spend on relaxation and health enhancement. The increasingly ageing European population is seeking natural ways for health and well-being enhancement and quality of life improvements. Millennials are aware that the old fashioned national health protection system is offering less medical protection to every new generation as the time goes by and they are aware of the need to keep themselves in good health as long as possible. Spa destination centres with specific mineral water healing and relaxing properties combine with some other benefits and technics (wine tourism, skiing, yoga, relaxation and pure pampering) can offer a lot to modern discerning travellers. This is the reason for a huge appetite for investment in health and spa industry by VC, PEG or other investors.

Mineral water and thermal spa centres in Serbia are designed and have been utilised as tertiary medical centres whose services have been paid by the national health organisation. With reduction in available funds for financing such medical services, many of them have commenced selling their services in the market.

Destination spas in Serbia

Serbian destination spa centres are fragmented and undercapitalised. They need not only an injection of fresh capital to modernise their business model but they need fresh ideas too to catch up fast with modern spa trends. They need to combine European traditional health spa tradition with American commercialism, Asian service ethics, holistic therapy and spiritual practice. The new branding concept should offer original and unique identity and harmonious combination of traditional spa and modern wellness services involved into the new concept of a destination spa or a spa retreat offering:

  • remedy and relief from aches and pains
  • relax and de-stress
  • health enhancement
  • beauty treatment

Each spa retreat should fully utilise the healing properties of its thermal waters (traditional European concept) with pampering (American concept) adding to it local authenticity, unique location, local gastronomical specialities, “farm-to spa” concept and local cultural heritage.

In other words, spa retreat is the place you will want to visit when you are heathy and when you have a health problem.

Serbian spas designated for privatisation

The Serbian Government intends to privatise and sell a number of Serbian destination spas as follows:

  1. Niska Spa (Niska banja)
  2. Koviljaca Spa (Banja Koviljaca)
  3. Bujanovac Spa (Bujanovacka banja)
  4. Sijerinska Spa (Gejzir Sijerinska banja)
  5. Merkur, Vrnjacka Spa (Merkur Vrnjacka banja)
  6. Ribarska Spa (Ribarska banja)
  7. Soko Spa (Sokobanja)
  8. Cigota Zlatibor
  9. Termal Vrdnik

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