The Semiotic History of Thermal Springs and Their Contribution to Tourism Development

  • Sofia TsiftelidouEmail author
  • Anastasia-Charikleia Christodoulou
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Business and Economics book series (SPBE)


Tourism, the last decades, has shown a rapid growth in international level and this has created the necessity for diversification and enrichment of tourism products of each destination. Due to the resulting competition between tourism destinations, the tourist product should be strengthened and viewed respectively. Although tourism has been based from antiquity until today on spare time, nowadays presents a morphological evolution and an expanding outline of its species, one of which is the thermal spa tourism, as an alternative form of tourism. This study moves in the context of a socio-semiotic perspective regarding the history of the use of thermal spa in Greece from antiquity until today and their contribution to the current tourism development. The aim of this study is the emergence of the rich natural wealth in Greece regarding the number of thermal spa by the possibility of utilizing all sources with corresponding benefits to the economy, development and tourism. Historically, the thermal spa tourism, flourished as a remedy while today has diversified by expanding its use as a means of well-being resulting economic benefits. The research question raised from the fact that in Greece, due to the volcanic soil of many regions, there is an abundance of spa from which the largest percentage remains untapped by the state. According to data from the Institute of Geological and Mineral Exploration there are 822 sources of spa in Greece. Today from 752 sources, they are used the 348 (42%) in a large or small degree and officially recognized are 77 of them. The geographical distribution of spa is as follows: Central Greece 156, Thessaly 57, Epirus 56, Macedonia 115, Thrace 25, Peloponnese 114, Islands 229. Looking at the available statistics, everyone can realize the dynamic that tourism presents internationally, initially as an economic phenomenon, and secondly as a tourist attraction. The economic impact of tourism development is influenced by a variety of factors such as: (a) the type of facilities for the convenience of tourists and activities with the aim of attracting tourists, (b) the creation of a “consumption” to the guests for spending money, (c) the level of economic development of the host country. Given the above and the fact that the health is a determing factor in a society, the state should turn on strengthening these alternative structures and forms of tourism to the benefit of not only the individual but also of society as a whole. Something which should be answered is why the structures of thermal spa in Greece have not been sufficiently developed while they could be a means of promoting the country, but also of developing and covering part of the unemployment. Based on the current bibliography has been found that the sustainability of the thermal spa depends on requirements of the Ministry of Health and the existing legal framework as well as the Ministry of Tourism. It is deducted from the municipal enterprises the possibility of flexibility and adaptation to modern needs for healing and wellness. Apparently, as in modern society, as opposed to antiquity, in thermal tourism has incorporated the concept of profit, which hinders the purpose of thermal spa. It is proposed, therefore, the formulation of a proposal for a flexible institutional framework, in order to operate as many thermal spa as possible for the benefit of the individual and not only.


Semiotic history Thermal spa Tourism development 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sofia Tsiftelidou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Anastasia-Charikleia Christodoulou
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of TourismRegion of Central MacedoniaThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.Aristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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