Spas seen as ‘relationship rescuers’ by many

Nearly one out of four Austrians visit spas to maintain their relationships, a new poll has shown.Research group Meinungsraum – which questioned more than 1,000 Austrians for health sector company Vamed – said today (Fri) 24 per cent said they visit spas with their partners to cherish their bonds.The vast majority of 90 per cent said relaxing was the main reason to go to a spa. Good water quality (76 per cent) and quietness (62 per cent) matter most, while around six in 10 said they were annoyed by overcrowding (62 per cent) and high admission prices (59 per cent).The study shows that 82 per cent of interviewed Austrians visited a spa in the country at least once in their lives so far. Residents of Salzburg are ahead in this regard with a share of 95 per cent followed by people living in Burgenland (93 per cent) and Styria (92 per cent). Residents of the western province of Vorarlberg (54 per cent) are less keen on spending time at spas, the poll suggests.A survey by GfK Austria showed last October that 70 per cent of the 500 interviewed Austrians planned to visit a spa at least once in the coming 12 months. The poll identified Styria’s Therme Loipersdorf and Heiltherme Bad Waltersdorf as Austria’s best known spas.GfK Austria’s study also revealed that one out of five people think visiting a spa has a prophylactic effect on their health. However, a majority of 85 per cent said finding time to relax and reduce stress were their main intentions.Spas have developed into an essential factor for the domestic tourism industry as they generate both day trippers and people opting for a weekend break. However, some towns and communities have experienced serious financial difficulties after pouring millions of Euros into the construction of spas. A high number of spas are understood to do well solely due to generous subsidies by provincial and local decision-makers.Meanwhile, a tourism sector expert has called for more marketing efforts of the Austrian tourism industry within the country as well as in Germany – its most important market – as long-term studies show that the number of Austrian and German vacationers picking Austria is in decline.Economy Chamber (WKO) official Hans Schenner emphasised he felt “alarmed” by developments.Hotels and guesthouses in Austria registered 42.59 million overnight stays from November 2010 to February 2011, down by 2.1 per cent compared to the same time span of the previous winter holiday season.