Dilemma: Thuringian swimming pools: austerity measures and guest complaints

Pool operators in Thuringia are facing major problems in view of the ongoing gas crisis and high inflation.

Dilemma: Thuringian swimming pools: austerity measures and guest complaints

Pool operators in Thuringia are facing major problems in view of the ongoing gas crisis and high inflation. "For many, the question arises as to how savings measures, rising costs and guest satisfaction can be reconciled," says the owner and managing director of the Avenida Therme in Hohenfelden, Marc Tom Pösken. The calculation for autumn and winter is difficult. For municipalities, the already often loss-making pool operation can become a serious financial problem.

The Avenida-Therme is well positioned, according to Pösken. According to the current status, there will be no shortened opening times or temperature reductions. In order to save gas, the company does not generate electricity in its own combined heat and power plant. This reduces gas consumption by up to 40 percent. Due to the resulting increase in electricity costs, a so-called heat levy of 1.60 euros for adults and 80 cents for children was introduced. Most recently, prices rose by one euro each in the bathroom and sauna on July 1 as part of the minimum wage increase.

The medium and long-term goal is the complete conversion to renewable energies: Among other things, a lake thermal system is to be installed; the bath will in future receive heat from the lake. According to Pösken, lake thermal energy works in a similar way to geothermal energy and is being developed together with the Bauhaus University in Weimar. In view of the higher burdens on people due to rising inflation and higher energy costs, it is clear that some guests will reduce their visits to the pool in autumn and winter for financial reasons. "However, we hope that the unchanged high range of services will attract new guests who switch to us from pools with a limited offer."

In the Thüringentherme in Mühlhausen, no price increases are planned this year, explains Martin Fromm from Wirtschaftsbetriebe Mühlhausen. The temperatures also remained at the usual level. "The situation is currently not as extreme as it was four weeks ago, when the gas levy was supposed to come," summarizes Fromm. At that time there were considerations to close the pool completely for a few weeks for economic reasons. "The current circumstances are an enormous burden for the municipalities." Renovation measures last year reduced energy consumption in the bathroom by around 30 percent, and the switch to renewable energies has been planned for some time.

In the Badewewelt Waikiki in Zeulenroda, according to a spokeswoman, the prices in the tropical pool and in the sauna were increased by two euros and in the sports pool by one euro. A temporary drop in temperature by one degree led to severe complaints from guests and was therefore withdrawn. The complete renovation of the bathing world is currently planned. If this is carried out as planned, the pool will be closed for 18 months from 2023. According to the company, the Tuscany thermal baths in Bad Sulza also reacted to the development in March with price increases. However, water and air temperatures would not be throttled.

According to a spokesman, admission prices in the Erfurt baths were raised slightly in July. At that time, the air and water temperature in the baths was also reduced by around two degrees and the running times of attractions were shortened. The sauna in the Roland-Matthes-Schwimmhalle will continue to operate, but with shorter opening times. The sauna in Johannesbad, which has been closed since the corona crisis, will still not be opened because it is currently not possible to operate economically.

A spokeswoman said no price increases were planned at GalaxSea in Jena this year. However, the water temperature has been lowered by one degree, and the flow temperature for showers has been reduced by five degrees to a maximum of 70 degrees. In the Lobeda swimming pool, there will be no warm bathing day in the future, and the lighting has also been reduced, it said.

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