Therma and gastro tourism in Italy

An overview of the thermal and gastro tourism in Italy – challenges and opportunities.

Training needs in the thermal tourism sector in Italy

Italy is the European country that boasts the largest number of SPAs, especially thanks to its particular geological conformation, rich in volcanic phenomena, this allows us to understand the role that thermalism has always played in the national economy.

There are over 30,000 companies linked to wellbeing in Italy, 78% of which in the regions of Northern Italy. Within this whole, there are 2,488 wellness centers, equal to 8% of the total, two thirds of which are in the North. Through these data it is possible to estimate that the turnover of the SPAs alone (Salus per Aquam), half of which are connected to hotels, exceeded one billion euros in 2009 and reached 4 billion with related activities.

Spas and wellness tourism (so-called wellness) resorts, on the other hand, welcome 4.2% of the estimated tourist presences in hotel and non-hotel accommodation facilities in Italy, or more than 15 million presences per year.

As for territorial distribution the main SPAs  are concentrated in some regions.

In Campania the largest number of SPAs in  Italy 

The regions with the highest number of spas are Campania (114) and Veneto (110), followed in order by Emilia-Romagna (24), Tuscany (22), Lazio (18) and Lombardy (16). For Campania and Veneto, given the particularity of the offer, based precisely on spa hotels, the phenomenon is difficult to quantify as many services are included within the offer packages and are not recorded.

Companies working in spa tourism

In Italy wellness tourism, also known as wellness, is promoted by over 30 thousand companies in the sector, of which about 2500 are wellness centers.

According to recent statistics, the induced activity produced by independent structures and those in hotels generates approximately 4 billion euros each year with more than 15 million visitors.

Recently management software became popular in this sector to help managers, with tools capable of coordinating the stay of guests, daily operations and resources.

Furthermore, thanks to the management systems dedicated to SPAs, it is also possible:

  • Automate the organization
  • Put the employees in the center in contact with each other
  • Monitor and analyze the performance of the SPA
  • Manage staff shifts

Improve customer relationships and maximize revenue

Most of the spas are concentrated in northern Italy, although we can find important structures located throughout the country, here are some:

  • The Roseo Euroterme Wellness Resort in Bagno di Romagna;
  • The Ermitage Bel Air thermal hotel in Abano Terme;
  • The Fonteverde Lifestyle & Thermal Retreat of San Casciano dei Bagni;
  • The Bagni di Pisa Palace Thermal & SPA in San Giuliano Terme;
  • The Silva hotel Splendid in Fiuggi;
  • The Aqualux Hotel Spa & Suite in Bardolino;
  • The Forte Village of Santa Margherita di Pula.

The National Institute for Public Policy Analysis (INAPP) is a public research body, which carries out analysis, monitoring and evaluation of labor policies and services for employment, education and training policies, policies social and all those public policies that have effects on the labor market. Its strategic role in the new governance system of social and labor policies in Italy is established by Legislative Decree 14 September 2015, n. 150

According to the Group’s research titled “Professional needs and labour market intelligence”, tourism is one of the main sectors providing greater demand for personnel with appropriate knowledge and skills. For the specific professions of masseurs and spa operators the following skills are considered relevant: being able to speak using effective communication methods, active listening, time management, and adaptability.

The thesis on “Tourism and human resources: the importance of appropriate training” was written by Christian Borgo at the University of Padova. The diploma work contained research at the national level about the importance of training in the tourism industry and related talent gaps.

One of the skills gaps identified by the study concerns the improvement of the quality of services provided, especially the personal skills needed to approach customers. The need emerges to improve skills not only at the managerial level, but above everything at the operational and executive level. Skills gaps can be bridged by increasing educational offerings of specialized pathways, in terms of content and variety.

More information:

National report “From crisis to opportunities for the future of tourism in Italy” was prepared by Alfonso Morvillo and Emilio Becheri in cooperation with CNR (National Research Council) and Research Institute on Innovation and Development Services, about the changes the COVID-19 brought about tourism industry. A specific section of the study concerns the new skills and training needs on tourism industry necessary for tackling the challenges presented by the pandemic. New skills needed after the pandemic are divided into two parts – technical skills and soft skills.

  • Technical skills: basic knowledge of hygiene and epidemiology, ability to apply protocols,

using medical and health devices, ICT competence, foreign languages.

  • Soft skills: emotional intelligence (personal emotional competencies and social, interpersonal

emotional competencies), cultural intelligence (knowledge of different cultures, ability to deal

with different cultures) intelligence from experience (customer focus, creativity and innovation

in interpreting customer needs, professional behaviour).

Interventions at the governmental level aimed at bridging existing gaps in the tourism sector, including upgrading staff skills based on new skills considered necessary as a result of the pandemic.

More information:


AA.VV 2014 2nd Global Forum on Tourism Statistics. Centro Studi, Istat Rome, 13-22, 45.53. Becheri E. 2007, Spa and wellness tourism in Tuscany: between tradition and innovation, Mercury Sitet, Florence.

Capasso A. ,, Migliaccio M., 2005. Evolution of the spa sector. Perspectives and development models for Italian companies, Franco Angeli.

ISNART 2013 Tourism company, Unioncamere, Rome, 13–23. ISTAT. Italian Statistical Institute (Italian Statistical Office)

 National Institute for Public Policy Analysis (INAPP) , Rome.

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