For the development of Agiasmatα to a thermalistic center (spa)
Based on the hot thermal water, the valley of Agiasmata can become an attractive thermalistic center, a place of healing, rehabilitation and wellness for body and soul. Such a center could be the engine for overall economic and social development of the Amani mountain region and, more generally, of Northern Chios.
The viability of such a center requires, however, attracting sufficient numbers of middle and upper-income visitors. To achieve this objective, a number of actions must be planned and carried out, from (a) the municipality of Chios and (b) the hot thermal water managing company.
These actions can be grouped into two basic categories:
- - The first category includes actions concerning the hot water source and some other parts of the overall offering of the thermalistic center, while the
- - The second category consists of actions regarding the improvement/creation of the necessary infrastructure.
Actions in relation to the hot water source, in time priority, are:
- Works to be completed immediately at and around the hot water source as suggested by geologist Mr angelidis, in a study to the Promitheftiki and the municipality of Chios in October 2012. These works are a prerequisite for the recognition of the source by the competent Committee of GNTO, and its certification by the competent Greek and European organizations. Up to this day only a part of the works that Mr Angelides suggested have been completed.
- To proceed as soon as possible with all the procedures foreseen by the current provisions (laws 3498/2006 4049 17414/2009/2012 and 4179/2013) for the recognition of the source, which is a precondition for any further steps. Article 20, par. 5 of Law 4179/2013 provides for actions to recognize the source of the GNTO.
- To take all necessary actions (systematic analyses by certified laboratories and medical centers) concerning the indications and contra-indications of the hot thermal water and to apply for the certification of the competent Greek and European medical associations and institutions so as to include Agiasmata in the data base of European spas, out of which Europeans select the spa of their preference for therapy and recreation.
- To modernize the existing municipal hydro therapy building that should continue offering its services as treatment center, as originally planned. For the continuation of its operation, however, the appropriate documents provided for in the Act 4179/2013 must be submitted to GNTO, in order to issue the relevant license before the deadline that is 8 months of publication (8-8-2013) of afore mentioned law.
- To be constructed an offshore pool, in the area of the hot water source that would be an important element of attraction to visitors.
- To perform a geological-hydrological study and create an up to date deposit facility for the drinking water source of Leykantria.
The actions regarding infrastructure, which can be programmed in a time frame of 5years, are:
- Improve infrastructure of which sine qua non is the solution to the problem of sewerage and wastewater treatment. It is unthinkable for a thermalism center, a spa town with pretensions to attract visitors from beyond its borders, the sewage to be treated with tanks dug in the earth or, what is worse, to be directed to the sea.
- Improve the road to Agiasmata from Volissos. Namely, sharp turns should be eased and narrow street points widened so that journey time be shortened and some travelers avoid unpleasant moments (sickness etc.).
- Necessary is finally to turn the area of the hot water source into an attractive point to visitors. Improvements in the appearance and the functioning must be applied of course to the settlement as a whole (road improvements, better lighting, signage, collection and disposal of garbage etc.).
As is obvious, this is a set of actions, of which perhaps the biggest part is organizational in nature and do not require funding, while a number of others are investments and require money.
Infrastructure investments will yield over time, but are necessary for the development of private business, which will ensure the creation of supply of accommodation facilities for the visitors.
DEYAX can play an important role in all of this. A prerequisite is to undertake to act as managing company of the thermal water with the advantages (administrative charge) and obligations of a thermal water managing company as laid down by the relevant provisions (see law 3498/2006, para. 13, as well as the law mentioned herein, 4179/2013 para.4). The DEYAX should have the right to transfer the management of the thermal water to others.
For best results, all actions mentioned above should be incorporated in a plan of at least 5 years, which will include annual operational plans and will be revised according to the results of implementation of the annual operational plans. The plan should certainly contain a marketing plan, whose purpose will be to design and carry out all of those actions that will be aimed at achieving the objectives set.
The goal of attracting sufficient numbers of middle and upper-income visitors is realistic. The sources of this kind of visitors are many. At the same time, the Greek government, with the last law of the Ministry of tourism recognizes the importance of alternative forms of tourism, in which thermalism holds a very good position. It can be combined with other forms of tourism that Greece and Chios, in particular, have comparative advantages. It should be expected that the government will support efforts aiming at developing thermal tourism.
Considering all of the above, the thermal water of Agiasmata is a valuable natural resource that the municipality of Chios must not leave untapped, for the benefit of the economy of the island and of its inhabitants.