Association for the Development of Social and Health Tourism

Our activities

  • Fostering the emergence of a social and health tourism stakeholders community and its subsequent animation
  • Increasing the awareness of relevant stakeholders on these trends
  • Providing training opportunities for fostering competitive entrepreneurship in social and health tourism fields
  • Technical expertise: participation in feasibility studies for tourism facilities and infrastructures (greenways, spas, etc.) and tourism marketing strategies
  • Identifying key financial support and possible financing schemes for social enterprise in the field of social tourism
  • Participation in sector-relevant projects financed under call for proposals in key frameworks (COSME, Transnational cultural tourism products and Tourism and accessibility for all, Cultural routes, etc.): identification of partners, drafting of the project proposal, project management
  • Brokerage between key partners in the health and social tourism fields (e.g. insurers and spas, etc.)
  • Free promotion of social or health tourism offers and products

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All our activities are intended to contribute to the development of social and health tourism in Romania and at a European cross-border level.



Our main objective is to foster the development of social tourism initiatives and innovative health tourism products in order to broaden the potential demand for the Romanian tourism offer.

Health tourism both preventive and curative is affected by two decades of lack of investment and upgrading of services and facilities. The Romanian traditional medical spas and social tourism facilities are therefore no longer in adequacy with local and European standards in spite of the presence of rich natural resources and skilled employees.

We consider that this demand, rooted into long-term, strong structural tendencies (ageing of populations, longer life expectancy) is not fully answered by the involved stakeholders notably because of a short-term costs/benefits evaluation of social and health tourism.

Indeed the economic crisis was already preceded by a strong European tendency to decrease the importance of the state subsidies for health/wellness tourism as for social tourism.

Already in 1999, the French government terminated its programme of welfare-funded spa holidays, which was a severe blow to the spa tourism industry, which hosted over 600,000 French visitors who had been able to recover up to 70 per cent of their costs through their social security system.

Thus social and health tourism are delicate matters since they are directly linked to political, economic and even ethical choices.

The US or the UK would find that the responsibility to give these kind of funds belongs to the individuals or to dedicated associations. Other countries as France or Belgium which are genuine welfare states are following this trend in order to reduce their social security deficits.

Nevertheless the European Union raised awareness about social tourism and its long-term outcomes. Preventive healthcare may be an immediate cost but can reduce the costs of social security at mid-term. In that regard we believe that any spending or initiatives directed towards the well-being of the overall population has a "multiplier effect".

Which means that if funds are carefully used in well-designed projects their spending cannot be seen anymore as an “act of charity” but as a fruitful investment.

This idea is new since these kind of initiatives are still widely seen as moral obligations. In reality they are rational decisions grounded on fundamentals values. In the same way the struggle against social exclusion is not meant to be the temporary provisions of welfare subsides to the poorest as cohesion funds were never meant to be short-term relief for new member states.

These ideas come from the same ground, a developing, sustainable and efficient society, State or Union cannot last without a process of inclusion. An old person in need of cares provided by a spa will less likely be a dependent person that will cost more money to the social security system. A young person that never left its hometown will less likely be interested by getting a higher education or to learn foreign languages.

In other words, social tourism should not be considered or disregarded as a reward given to the excluded but as a powerful leverage for the development of a country.

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Romania has a crucial part to play to that extent and has to acknowledge that public policies are no more sufficient to undertake that task and to be eligible to most of the European funding devoted to that thematic.

This is the reason why development funds highlights the need for the civil society and the public stakeholders to jointly initiate and implement projects in accordance with the spirit of multi-level governance and horizontality.

The structure of the economy and of the social and healthcare system has therefore changed and gives more and more room to spontaneous and Ad Hoc initiatives and to the development of social enterprises at a European Level. These sectors are the leverages for the growth of a social economy that meets the people’s need for transparency, sustainability and fairness.

We aim to facilitate and enhance these new forms of cooperation between private and public stakeholders and to share our expertise in elaborating new, innovative sustainable financing schemes for the infrastructures, products and promotion of the social and health tourism.