Design and development of touristic products Main author: Gábor Michalkó Szilvia Boros, János Csapó, Éva Happ, Pál Horváth, Anikó Husz, Mónika Jónás-Beri, Katalin Lőrinc, Andrea Máté, Gábor Michalkó, Erzsébet Printz-Markó, Krisztina Priszinger, Tamara

Milestones influencing our bath history and culture

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Milestones influencing our bath history and culture

  • -          1937: International medicinal bath conference, Budapest

  • -          1960s crude oil exploration projects

  • -          1977: UNO Development Programme

  • -          2000–2003: Széchenyi Plan: significant state support for the development of medicinal-, thermal- and health tourism, maybe also due to the recognition of the need of the UNO Development Programme. For details see Chapter 5.

  • -          2005–2013: The 2nd National Development Plan denominates the development of health tourism and that of monument baths.

  • -          2007: National strategy health tourism development: it was created in accordance with the 2nd National Development Plan, respectively with the National Tourism Development Strategy, and broad professional contribution with the objection to make Hungary a leading health tourism destination of Europe by 2015. For details see Chapter 5.

Based on the future plans, on 15 January 2011 the New Széchenyi Plan departed, that contains health industries as a prioritized programme. (Turizmus Panoráma Bulletin, 2010/146:2010.07.29.: Kiemelt program az egészségturizmus az Új Széchenyi Tervben; Turizmus Panoráma Bulletin, 2010/149:2010.08.03.: Az egészségturizmus az egészségipar húzóága)

2. Supply elements

There are two Hungarian locations among the best 38 health tourism destinations in the world that are listed on the TripAdvisor website (, 2009.09.14., Turizmus Panoráma Bulletin, 2009/176.: 2009.09.14.: Budapest és Hévíz is a világ legjobb gyógyturisztikai ajánlatai között), which is one of the leading opinion shapers and information portals for travellers. Budapest is ranked number 8, and Hévíz is in position 37.

Due to Hungary’s excellent geothermic endowments, the medicinal springs and thermal waters deserve a special attention in the Hungarian health tourism supply. Based on the updated (03.09.2010) register of the Board of National Medicinal Places and Medicinal Baths, Hungary possesses the following endowments in thermal- and medicinal water reserves, and in other medical factors:

-          213 approved mineral waters

-          218 approved medicinal waters

-          74 medicinal baths

-          13 medicinal places

-          5 medicinal caves

-          5 natural medical muds (for details see 74/1999. (XII. 25.) Decree of the Ministry of Health on natural medical factors)

-          32 medicinal hotels

-          1 cure house (for details see 74/1999. (XII. 25.) Decree of the Ministry of Health on natural medical factors)

2.1. Attractiveness of Hungarian health tourism

The attractions can be divided into natural and man-made attractions. Natural attractions of Hungarian health tourism are for example mineral-, thermal and medicinal waters, climatic medical places, respectively medical peloids (mud, fango). To man made attractions belong for example the monument baths of Hungary (ITER-project) or the new masterpiece built in Makó (Turizmus Panoráma Bulletin, 2010/126, 2010.07.01.: Jó ütemben halad Makó új építészeti és turisztikai attrakciójának alapozása), just as salt and aromatherapy caves that aim at the simulation of nature/natural factors, and the physic therapy using physical impulses, or the electro-, magneto- or hydrotherapy.

Since the attractions complement each other, destinations with several attractions can achieve a higher market share by connecting their supply. The cooperation with additional tourism services is realized in the case of health tourism. (For details see Chapter 6.)

The touristic success of an attraction is influenced by its accessibility, general infrastructure, accommodations, catering, recreation opportunities, hospitality and hygiene. In the case of health tourism a special attention has to be devoted to the creation and maintenance of the bathing city or medical place atmosphere, just as to the needs of people with physical disabilities.

The following has to be mentioned by the analysis of the Hungarian medical tourism supply:

-          medicinal waters: for healing and mitigating of locomotor diseases, skin diseases, gynaecological complaints, vascular diseases and digestive system

-          treatments supported by Hungarian Social Security Fund: extension of medical treatments with the support of social security is determined by the Decree of the Ministry of Health No. 23/2007. (V.18.) (; one can apply for a bathing cure twice a year and it contains 6 to 15 treatments including 4 types of treatments per cure

-          non water-based cure factors (among travellers with medical aims/in medical tourism): e.g. International Pető Institute (, National Hearth Clinic in Balatonfüred (

-          physiotherapy used in healing

-          use of natural cure factors aiming recreation in medical and wellness departments of baths, respectively medical and wellness hotels in accordance with the medical-wellness trend

-          medical and wellness hotels

-          medical expertise

-          good price-value ratio

The most important unique elements of Hungarian health tourism are as follows:

-          Egerszalók – bath located at the bottom of the chalk formed by the medicinal water flowing down the hill (

-          Hajdúszoboszló – the largest bath complex of Europe, the “Mediterranean coast” of Hungary, Aqua-Palace Fedett Élményfürdő (Covered Leisure Spa) (

-          Hévíz – medicinal lake, thermal medical water, balneotherapy based on natural cure factors, weight bath (

-          Mátraderecske – carbon-dioxide mofetta bath (

-          Miskolctapolca – cave bath (

-          Tapolca – medical cave, cave therapy (

Decisive elements of a destination’s popularity can be:

-          own products extending its peculiar supply and image. For example: Bükfürdő, Gyula, Hajdúszoboszló, Harkány (thermal cure cosmetic products with medicinal water of Harkány) (

-          having a “special offer” promoting its supply

Also strategy(ies) related to the development of tourism products, just as the operation of international and domestic professional organizations favour supply side.

A questionnaire survey related to the interpretation of the attractiveness of Hungarian health tourism was made in the Department for Tourism of the Apáczai Csere János Faculty at the West-Hungarian University (hereinafter: NYME-AK by the Hungarian acronym). The 100 fulltime, first semester students surveyed were participants of the course called Wellness trends and services. They associated by hearing Hungarian health tourism destinations to the following domestic places in ranking order: Hévíz (66), Bükfürdő (40), Hajdúszoboszló (40) and Sárvár (26).

2.2. Infrastructure of health tourism

The following elements make the infrastructure of health tourism:

-          establishments of local tourism, such as outdoor beaches and indoor baths

-          medical place establishments, i.e. establishments for the healing oriented utilization of natural elements, such as drinking and walking corridors, halls; medicinal park, hot water baths, gas- and mud baths; inhalation treatments, locomotive treatments

-          climatic medical place establishment, such as medical house, large park and forest

Based on the categorization above, and by investigating monitored by the Hungarian Tourism Inc., we have the following establishments in the domestic supply:

Table 1: Establishments of the Hungarian health tourism supply

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