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A major step for the Curative Springs

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  TO THE MEMBERS OF THE HELLENIC ASSOCIATION OF MUNICIPALITIES WITH THERMAL SPRINGS

Dear colleagues,

When a year ago we were assigned with the management of the Hellenic Association of Municipalities with Thermal Springs, we promised that we will concentrate our every effort to solve the long- lasting problem that hinder for many years the greek curative springs. The most important of all was the submission of the recognition dossiers for the springs of our members, so that they can finally take the first step for the development and usage of their curative springs.

The reality was disheartening. 10 years after the enactment of the law 34 / 98 2006 and we are still discussing how to deal and respond to this notorious process of recognitions. A lot of money were spent and the local administration went through a lot of trouble in order to finally carry out the necessary studies and analysis, but the results were actually negligible. In the beginning of 2015 we could not seriously claim that the industry of thermal springs was on its proper way. We had to be plagued by the distortions of the Hellenic Public Administration, we had to eliminate at all costs the clueless "technocrats" that hampered and distorted the efforts of the local administration’s officials, and we had to work decisively to be able to cope.

So, until the 31/12/2015 almost all members - municipalities of the Association submitted their recognition dossiers, with only a few exceptions. During the last year 22 Municipalities have submitted a dossier for 29 curative natural resources.

For those who did not make it, be it municipal curative springs or springs managed by the Public Properties Company or private citizens, we have urged and we expect in the following days for the Deputy Minister of Tourism Mrs.Kountoura to hold her promise for the extension of the deadline for another year.

I want to thank for their collaboration, the members of the Executive Committee of the Association, my fellow mayors and representatives the Municipalities-Members of the Association, the employees of Municipalities and Municipal Enterprises that dealt with the issue of defending the interests of their Local Government Organization, as well as the administrative staff and external partners of the Association.

An important step was taken, but we cannot be lulled into due to the long-term delay. The Association through its institutionalized presence in the Commission of Protection of Natural Resources, and by having the expertise required, it will intensify its efforts in the coming months so that all the curative springs of our members will be published in the Government Gazette. We also try to ensure that during 2016, all hydrotherapy centers will acquire their operating sign.

The newly established cooperation with the foreign insurance funds and the promotion of our Thermal Springs in every way possible, the cooperation with universities, the ongoing cooperation with the relevant ministries for the optimization of the legal framework concerning the curative springs and their operators, the cooperation with the Association of Hellenic Tourism and Travel Agents, our cooperation with relevant bodies on the inside of our country and abroad, like the European Historic Thermal Towns Association are among our daily actions that will be intensified in the upcoming period and we aspire to add even more.

Dear colleagues, it is obvious that we recently have accomplished to divert the public attention to the curative springs. The increased visits, even though we are still going through a crisis period, the many investors interested in the greek curative springs are encouraging us to continue our efforts with the same fervor.

I ask each and every one of you to continue your active efforts, coordinated by the Hellenic Association of Municipalities with Thermal Springs, who is the body of the local administration able to shoulder the weight honestly and efficiently. Our thermal springs will very soon be rendered to wealth production units benefiting our local economies and our citizens.

With warm regards

The President of the Hellenic Association of Municipalities with Thermal Springs

GIANNIS KARAGIANNIS

Mayor of Lagadas

Vice President of Central Union of Municipalities and Communities of Greece

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