• Local community attitudes and perceptions towards thermalism.

      Fleur, Stevens; Azara, Iride; Michopoulou, Eleni; University of Derby; Department HRSM, College of Business, University of Derby, Derby, UK; Department HRSM, College of Business, University of Derby, Derby, UK; Department HRSM, College of Business, University of Derby, Derby, UK (Taylor and Francis, 2018-02-28)
      Thermalism is enjoying a global resurgence of interest as consumers seek out ethical, natural, and place-based wellness experiences. In Europe, the ‘success rate of healing through thermalism has maintained the high reputation of thermal springs with curative powers’. However, thermalism has been culturally lost in the UK. This study focuses on a UK historical spa site currently undergoing restoration. Once restored, this will be one of three UK's only spa hotels with direct access to natural thermal mineral waters. An ethnographic case study design was used to explore community's perceptions and attitudes towards thermalism and the wellness tourism development model being implemented on location. Findings suggest that memories of the values and virtues of thermalism persist within the community and that, if harnessed, can play a significant role in supporting the local and national wellness agenda. However, findings also suggest that the reintroduction of thermal tourism in the location is perceived by the community as a luxury commodity reserved exclusively for the wealthy and elite members of society. Thermalism is a social and cultural resource and thus attention should be paid to ensure that any wellness tourism development model follows a cultural participatory logic and not solely an economic one.