Kovászna County health resorts need new strategy to stay alive

They have been built for ten long years in the hope of reviving the once-popular balnear culture in Szeklerland, but the results have been underwhelming. The “Mineral Springs Route” project faced a variety of bureaucratic roadblocks, which the initiators successfully addressed, resulting in building new health spa resorts in Kovászna/Covasna County, but the problem is these facilities aren’t being used to their full potential, according to Róbert Grüman, vice-president of the Kovászna County Council.

The Potential

Health spa resorts have long been sought for their therapeutic effects, and Transylvania is one of the areas known for its range of such resorts. Since Kovászna/Covasna is known as the resort of the 1,000 mineral water springs with a variety of physical-chemical compositions, the project initiators envisioned transforming Covasna and other areas into the most attractive and popular Romanian balnear resort engaged in complex health recuperation treatments through modern and diverse resources.

Bicarbonate, carbonated, hydrochloric, sodic, and ferrous mineral waters and therapeutic mofette gas, all products of post-volcanic activity, make Covasna a resort with European value used mainly for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. The high concentration of CO2 makes Covasna the first in its category in the whole of Europe, as it surpasses the concentration of gases from the Grotta de Cane in Italy (one of the most popular in Europe), with 24%–34%. Since it is a place of extreme wealth in terms of gas emanations (many mofettes that can give places to more groups simultaneously), with a high number of natural sources and the presence of mineral waters and many private mofettes, the selected locations are a perfect choice for a health tourist center.

The Reality

Speaking with AgerPress, Grüman highlighted the need for new strategies to attract more visitors to the facilities without tourists to unlock the full monetary potential of the newly built, well-equipped spas.

The spa centers located in Bölön/Belin, Előpatak/Vâlcele, Málnásfürdő/Malnas-Băi, and Oltszem/Olteni have been in use for the past five years and jointly administered by the Kovászna County Council, the Aquatic Association, and the Association for Tourism Development in Kovászna. But despite their great potential, the resorts don’t generate enough revenue to cover their expenses.

“Many tourists have visited the resorts during the past few years, and we hope to find a solution to keep them alive on the tourist map. Of course, we also hope that if more tourists come to visit these areas, it will have a positive impact on the infrastructure, and we hope to see new guesthouses in the adjacent villages, because the ultimate goal is not just to administer the resorts, but to give an impulse to rural tourism in the areas where they are located,” Grüman says.

Image gallery: Spa resort in Bölön/Belin, Kovászna/Covasna County

Author: István Fekete