The Assises du thermalisme was held in Jonzac (Charente Maritime) on Wednesday, 25 May. It brought together all regional actors in the sector as well as elected representatives. Julien Bazus, regional councilor and mayor of Saint-Paul-les-Dax, recalled the desire for development to be focused on the health side of hydrotherapy. "The hydrotherapy must stand on its own two feet. That is to say, it must have both medicine and tourism. Many of our hotels already have a wellness area. We will continue to work in the health field through research, training, innovations in tools and methods, and digitization. Also, it is important to explore the possibilities of splitting the cure into short treatments to attract a younger populace.
One of the latest innovations is a interface that can transform into an app. It is being tested in three thermal pools in the region, one in Dax. The client can arrange his visit and receive transport instructions via this portal. He can then consult his doctor and view the details of his treatment.
Jean-Charles Pressigout (president of the Association of Thermal Establishments of Grand Dax) supports the decision of the Region to concentrate on the medical sector. He says, "Our core business was always health and it is clear that this remains the strength of our company." Even if we have some preventive measures in place, it is important to continue developing them because they work elsewhere.
The local sector is slowly finding patients even though the beginning of the year was difficult. We are now on a forecast for -20 to 30% annual turnover, but it is important to remember that the entire first half of 2019 was still affected by Covid. 2022 will be considered a buffer year as some regulars have decided to forgo the treatment. Jean-Charles Pressigout says that while we will need to improve communication in order to bring them back next season, we are still optimistic.