On November 6, 2019, a workshop of the Latvian Stakeholders’ Working Group of the Project “Innovative Health Solutions in Thermal Spa Regions - InnovaSpa” was held at the University of Latvia (UL). The workshop was organised by the UL Center for European and Transition Studies and attended by more than 20 representatives of the Latvian SPA, medical and tourism sectors. During the workshop participants discussed activities and outcomes of InnovaSpa study visits in partner regions taking place during 2019, and the InnovaSpa planned activities in 2020, including the study visit to Latvia planned for July, 2020.  

The InnovaSPA workshop was attended by representatives of the National Rehabilitation Center "Vaivari", Ministry of Health - Public Health Department, "Latvian Red Cross", Resort Rehabilitation Center "Jaunķemeri", Latvian Health Tourism Cluster, Hotel Jurmala SPA and representatives from Baldone Regional Council, Riga Stradins University, Latvian Association of Rehabilitation Doctors and others.

During the workshop previous InnovaSpa project activities and study visits were reviewed and analyzed by the Project Manager Zane Zeibote. In this respect study visits carried out in the regions of France, Hungary, Lithuania and Portugal were discussed. Latvian stakeholders having participated in study visits shared their experiences with others and commented good practices introduced by study visits. In 2020 the InnovaSpa study visits are planned in Slovenia, Romania, Latvia and Poland.

The final speaker of the workshop was Ilona Kalniņa – Senior Expert of the Sectoral Policy Department of the Ministry of Economics of the Republic of Latvia (Managing Authority). She provided an overview of policy developments in the area of SPA medicine, development of health resorts and medical tourism, as well as spoke about possibilities for allocation of resources under the EU Operation Program during this and the next programming period. In addition, Ms. Kalnina presented new guidelines of the “Latvian Tourism Policy 2021 - 2027”. At the end of presentation stakeholders discussed various issues related to development perspectives of medical SPAs and resorts.

Participants of the meeting concluded that project's activities up to date have been useful for the Latvian stakeholders, including study and experience exchange visits abroad. Currently, transferring of good practices from other European regions have been considered by several stakeholders. During April – September 2020 this experience will be continued, and conclusions will be drawn which good practices would be useful and possible for implementing in Latvia. Next year will also be decisive for defining further national policies for the development of the Latvian SPA medicine and health resort industries.

The planning of the InnovaSpa study visit to Latvia has already started and during the December 2019, and January to March of 2020 the University of Latvia representatives will visit the Latvian health and SPA resorts to discuss good practices to be presented to quests from other project regions.


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