Established in December 2013, the Association for the Development of Social and Health Tourism (ADSHT) gathers confirmed experts in the field of tourism with considerable depth of experience in territorial & urban planning, tourism & leisure development and project management.
This association started as a non-profit initiative of the advisory firm Détente Consultants which, over the last 8 years, delivered consultancy services and realized development strategies for the main Romanian central and local public authorities: Government (Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism – the Strategy for Spa Tourism of Romania, Bucharest Tourism Strategy, etc.), County Councils and Municipalities (Iasi, Bacau, Slatina, Giurgiu – local development strategies, feasibility studies), etc.
Détente Consultants also drafted the Romanian profile for the EU Calypso project on social tourism which highlighted particularly how senior tourism can contribute to combat seasonality, strengthening the notion of European citizenship and promoting a regional development.
Thus, one of the first action of the newly created ADSHT is to participate to the Low Season Tourism Expert Group of the DG Enterprise that drafts the European strategy for the development of senior tourism.
Indeed, this diversity of experiences showed increasing necessity to create an association that will gather multi-level stakeholders in order to answer the most urging needs of the Romanian and European population. Since in those days public and private stakeholders cannot tackle these issues by themselves or for their own profits or publicity.
New forms of cooperation have to be created in order the follow the EU agenda for development. These new types of partnerships necessitates to abandon a single player perspective but rather to adopt and develop values of social responsibility and public and private accountability in the purpose of a balanced and fair development.
Social and Health Tourism can permit to provide short-term benefits to individuals as well as long-term infrastructures to the population. Our association is therefore dedicated to one single goal, the well-being of people, driven by the idea that tourism in Romania, the capacity to enjoy its diverse landscapes, its natural resources can give a relief from the symbolic and physical stigmata of social exclusion.
The future of tourism in Romania takes many forms nevertheless the future of Romanian tourists may firstly be in Romania for two reasons:
- The most obvious is the average income and the difficulty for a large part of the population to go abroad.
- The most reassuring is the diversity of tourism opportunities in Romania; the sea, the mountains, the culture, the nature etc.
Without being presumptuous, France is exemplary to that extent. First destination in the world in 2012, it was also the destination of 89% of the French taking vacations the same year.
A prosperous tourism sector attracts foreigners as nationals, though a good indicator of Romania tourism development will be its attractiveness towards its own population.
In that regard, social tourism is a singular expression because tourism is inherently a social progress born from the improvement of labour laws, as the increase of the accessibility of leisure for the working classes.
Therefore it means that tourism should develop within a same society for all the society without any discrimination of age, gender, ethnicity, handicap or wealth.
Unfortunately France reminds us also that in spite of being the first destination for its population, it is also a country where during a single year 25% of the population do not take any vacations.
Consequently, ADSHT is not an association that could only exist in Romania or that answers only to the social issues of Romania, most of European countries have to face the fact that a part of their population is excluded from tourism. This exclusion harms the weakest: the young, the disabled, the ill and the elderly.
Moreover, ADSHT wants to show that unlike other European countries, Romania can have the capacity and resources to manage better this issue and to highlight the synergies between its own development and its struggle against this form of social exclusion.