Serbian Spa Secret Success!
Think of a European Health Spa resort and a remote sanatorium for the aged and infirmed springs to mind. I know, I have visited most of them. With Europe’s aging population they have their market secured, however, replenishing the supply is always the challenge. To put it bluntly, senior guests don’t just peter out gradually, because they tend to arrive in groups of the same age, one year a bus of 200 arrive, the next hardly any. It’s shocking to see, but we go to our maker in batches.
Not so for Vrnjacka Banja. Spot bang in the middle of Serbia this famous health resort is currently in the middle of what they call their ‘spa renaissance’. The town is full and buzzing. It’s a place where the old and young, the sick and healthy mix happily. What’s their secret? The town is not afraid to mix medical and wellness, leisure and health. Sick people come for treatment for diabetes (a unique and clever focus since obesity and high blood sugar are today’s epidemic), couples for romantic weekends and the young for techno festivals and carnivals. The result; a spa destination for all.
Sometimes in traditional spas there is almost an obsession to separate the young and old, the sick and the healthy – ‘it’s off-putting’ the comment I used to hear. I always believed mixing the guests could and can work. I don’t want to be sitting in a spa within mannequin models, nor when I am old do I want to feel that I am in some sort of aged internment camp. Vrnjacka Banja has achieved what I always believed is possible – cafés are full along it’s 2km promenade, the sick receive expert treatments and recuperation and wellness fanatics can hike, jog or cycle around the green belt that surrounds the town.
It was a pleasure to be a part of the CEI Serbian Wellness Cluster conference again and a pleasure to have a glimpse of what a spa destination can be like.