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Spa Business
2023 issue 1

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Leisure Management - Thinking thermal

News report

Thinking thermal


Jane Kitchen joined hot spring leaders from around the world at The Global Thermal Think Tank in Israel

The Dead Sea is one of the world’s most famous mineral sources Photo: Shutterstock/Hrecheniuk Oleksii
Taking in the health benefits of local mud Photo: jane kitchen
Attendees included Marc Cohen from Australia and Alla Sokolova from Europe Photo: marc Cohen
Hot spring leaders from around the world came together to learn from each other Photo: Jake Foerstner
Photo: marc cohen

The Dead Sea is in trouble, its waters are shrinking by almost 4 feet every year and dangerous sinkholes are forming on its shores, explained local geologist Eli Raz during the recently-held Global Thermal Think Tank (G3T) in Israel.

The warning was a wake-up call for G3T attendees, a group of 24 international hot springs professionals and enthusiasts who took part in the three-day tour of thermal waters and historic sights in the country.

“It reminds us how important it is to be aware of environmental impacts on our source waters,” says participant Vicky Nash, executive director of the US-based Hot Springs Association. “The implementation of preservation and conservation plans is critical to protecting these natural resources.”

The annual G3T is an invitation-only event which precedes the Global Wellness Summit (GWS) and dives into the culture and practices of hot springs near where it’s held – with the latest event taking place in Tel Aviv. It got its start in 2016 in Bad Orb, Germany, in advance of the GWS in Kitzbühel, Austria.

This time, attendees visited the Ein Gedi oasis, had outdoor massages with views of the Dead Sea at Synergy Spa, floated and painted each other with mud at the Dead Sea, visited historical hot springs sites in Tiberias, soaked in the waters at Hamat Gader hot springs near the border of Syria and Jordan and swam in the Sea of Galilee.

Along the way, we stayed at a Bedouin tent camp, rode camels in the desert and hiked to the ancient fortress at Masada at sunrise, taking in the Roman bathhouse there.

Throughout the trip, we explored the way music and hot springs naturally go together – first with an incredible fireside performance from local musicians and later with serenades from Marty Williams the arts, culture and entertainment director at Peninsula Hot Springs in Australia.

Overall, G3T provided the opportunity for hot springs professionals from around the world to meet and discuss how they can collectively evolve and grow as a wellness sector.

“The goal is to find ways to learn from each other to develop international understanding and create hot springs-centred wellness communities,” says Charles Davidson, chair and founder of Peninsula Hot Springs, who organises the event each year.

Attendee Mark Hennebry, chair of Europe-based Ensana Health Spas concludes: “Once again, the G3T programme brought together key industry leaders. The combination of informal conversations, education on mineral springs in Israel and music around campfires in the desert delivered deep and meaningful connections that resonate long after the event.”


Originally published in Spa Business 2023 issue 1

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