On the basis of the information presented, it is clear that spa establishments, particularly in France, play an important role in the healthcare system, with a robust ecosystem contributing to the market economy. The global market for spa and mineral cures showed a positive trend with sales of $56.2 billion, indicating a growing interest in wellness tourism. However, due to the lack of up-to-date information in the text, it is not possible to provide a current and accurate analysis of market trends after 2020.

The booming French spa market: trends and economic impact

In the field of health and well-being, the French thermalism market has established itself as a leading sector within the country's healthcare system, welcoming a substantial number of people every year. The market, rich in tradition and supported by an ecosystem of treatment facilities, accommodation and entertainment, is mainly frequented by retirees seeking relief from rheumatological problems. However, it also serves as a sanctuary for the relaxation and well-being of its visitors.

Despite the rigorous quality controls introduced in the early 2000s, the market has grown, with annual revenues estimated at hundreds of thousands of euros. Over the years, it has strategically expanded to a younger population with the introduction of thermoludism, and improved its offerings to accentuate regional connections.

Worldwide, demand for spa and mineral cures has grown at an average annual rate of around 5%. The French market contributes to this figure, although it ranks 14th in terms of sales compared to market leaders such as China, Japan and Germany. Locally, more than half a million curists took part in spa cures at French spa establishments, of which there were over a hundred. A significant proportion of this clientele sought treatment for rheumatological conditions.

The sector, supported by over 90 spas, has seen an upward trajectory in terms of the number of curists, reaching a crescendo with over 600,000 individuals gravitating to these healing waters. After this peak, there was a slight stabilization, but the figures remain impressive. The French spa market is characterized by a fragmented structure, with the vast majority of market share held by a relatively small number of key players.

Leading companies, such as Chaîne Thermale du Soleil and ValVital, operate several facilities across the country, making a significant contribution to market dynamics. The economic footprint of this market is substantial, with total sales of around €1 billion. This figure includes both direct expenditure on treatments and ancillary costs incurred by spa guests on site, such as accommodation and complementary wellness services. Spa establishments are not just medical entities, but also tourist destinations offering a range of services designed to meet the broader needs of their customers, including leisure and hospitality. Some establishments offer a mix of high-end treatments and accommodation options, with the aim of meeting their customers' needs

The French spa market boasts a number of key players who contribute significantly to its growth and diversity. Here, we present some of the major companies that occupy notable positions in the industry, each bringing unique elements to the field of wellness and therapeutic treatments using mineral water resources.

  • Chaîne Thermale du Soleil: A dominant force in the French spa sector, Chaîne Thermale du Soleil operates 20 establishments across the country. Its extensive presence and robust infrastructure cater to the needs of a plethora of guests seeking remedies for a variety of ailments, with a particular emphasis on thermal cures that combine healing and relaxation. It offers a myriad of accommodations, from modest 2-star residences to luxurious 4-star experiences, catering to a diverse clientele.
  • ValVital: Another important entity in the market is ValVital, which oversees 11 spa establishments in France. They emphasize a holistic approach to spa treatment, often featuring a mix of traditional and modern therapeutic options. Thanks to the strategic location of their establishments, they guarantee access to natural mineral water and offer their customers a full range of health and wellness services.
  • Eurothermes: With 4 establishments under its wing, Eurothermes has made its mark in the French spa sector by offering an assortment of spa and health services tailored to the needs of those seeking rejuvenation and medical treatments. Its commitment to investing in state-of-the-art facilities and research has positioned it favorably with health-conscious visitors.
  • France Thermes: Relatively modest in size, with 3 establishments, France Thermes has nonetheless managed to make a significant impact thanks to its targeted and specialized services. Their focus on quality of care and customer experience has enabled them to carve out a place for themselves in the competitive spa market.

In addition to these established players, the market has seen some dynamic changes with new entrants such as L'Oréal, which has diversified by acquiring thermal baths in Saint-Gervais, and Caisse des Dépôts, which has teamed up with BO Resort to rejuvenate the Châtel Guyon spa.

These new forces are bringing new perspectives, investments and innovations that are energizing the sector and diversifying the offering. The entities mentioned represent only a fraction of the wide range of players in the French spa market. However, their services, commitment to quality and ongoing efforts to attract different demographic groups play a vital role in maintaining France's excellent reputation as a destination for health and wellness. Their combined contributions continue to breathe vitality into the French spa industry.

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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Market overview and definition

A spa is defined as an establishment that uses water from mineral springs, as well as the mud and gases derived from them, to treat the ailments or pathologies of spa-goers. [Ministry of Health]

With a long tradition in France, spa establishments have stood the test of time, becoming an integral part of the French healthcare system. Providing a livelihood for many thousands of people, a whole ecosystem has been built up around spa establishments (accommodation, entertainment, etc.). This represents a market worth several hundred million euros.

In 2022, both the global and French markets are growing, but are still below their pre-covid levels, the crisis having permanently reduced the number of establishments. The global market, largely dominated by Europe and Asia, is expected to exceed its 2019 level by 2025.

Primarily aimed at retirees suffering from rheumatological problems, spa stays also represent a moment of relaxation for the hundreds of thousands of curists who visit the establishments of major chains such as the Chaîne Thermale du Soleil every year.

Since the early 2000s, controls on the quality of the water used by spas have been stepped up, spurred on by the public authorities' determination to better regulate this expenditure by the Assurance Maladie.

Thermal spas have not stopped there; they are also trying to attract younger customers through thermoludism, by emphasizing their proximity to the area and by moving upmarket, as demonstrated by the Vichy Accélération 2030 works plan: this 56 million euro renovation plan began in autumn 2023 and aims to renovate and upgrade the 3 thermal baths of the France Thermes group in Vichy.

1.2 A fast-growing global market

The spa and mineral cures market represents sales of $**.* billion in ****, up *% on **** but still below its pre-covid level (***).

Worldwide spa and thalassotherapy market size World, ****-*****, in billions of dollars Source: GWI * projections

Europe, followed by Asia , dominate this market - Asia will overtake Europe by ****. These two continents account ...

1.3 Domestic market

The following graph shows the evolution of spa consumption.

In ****, the spa treatment market was worth *** million euros, up **% on ****, but still below its pre-crisis level (***).

Consumption of spa treatments France, **** - ****, in millions of euros Source: ****

However, taking into account direct (***) expenditure, sales in the spa sector can be estimated ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Number of curists

The graph above shows that the number of curists has increased since ****, rising from around ***,*** to almost ***,*** in ****. A peak seems to have been reached in ****, however, with over ***,*** curists. Nevertheless, the number of curists fell considerably in **** due to the health crisis (***).

trends in the number of spa visitors France, ...

2.2 Spa visitors by therapeutic orientation

Thermal baths have a therapeutic purpose, aiming to treat dysfunctions using certain properties of thermal water. [***]

Thermal establishments do not generally offer all cures, which partly explains their diversity across the region (***). The graph below shows the proportion of spa visitors by therapeutic orientation.

number of spa visitors by therapeutic orientation France, ...

2.3 Guest profile

the vast majority of spa guests (***) are women:

Curists by gender France, ****, in Source: ****

The over-**s account for **.*% of the clientele. Demand is particularly strong among those aged ** and over.

Distribution of spa visitors by age group France, ****, in Source: ****

With the majority of customers aged over **, the most common ...

2.4 Guest behavior

According to a Nomadeis survey dating from ****, the format most followed by curists is that of an annual cure (***).

Answer to the question: How often do you carry out your cures? France, ****, in Source: ****

What's more, nearly * curists out of * (***) come accompanied during their stay, including nearly **% with their spouse.

Answer ...

2.5 Demographic factors

Demand in the spa market is driven by senior citizens (***), and is therefore closely linked to the country's demographics.

In ****, France will have a population of **.* million. People over ** account for **.*% of the French population, or around **.* million people.

Breakdown of French population by age category France, ****, in Source: ****

The aging ...

2.6 French people's overall image of spa medicine

In ****, Toluna - Harris Interactive carried out a survey on behalf of the Conseil National des Etablissements Thermaux, involving a sample of *,*** French people aged ** and over, to assess French people's opinion of spa medicine.

The French identify the sector well, especially for the oldest and wealthiest among them

Three quarters ...

3 Market structure

3.1 A market dominated by a hundred or so players

According to the CNETh (***), there are ** active spa resorts and *** spa establishments in France as of January ****.

The table below lists the main players in the sector (***). The national market leader is the Chaîne Thermale du Soleil, with a total of ** establishments across the country

Source: ****

In addition, new players ...

3.2 Resorts depend on mineral water sources

Regulations require spa resorts to exploit natural mineral water from uncontaminated springs.

Boreholes must be drilled to reach this water, which is then used by spa facilities (***) and thermoludism and wellness facilities.

There are *** natural mineral springs in France. This represents **% of Europe's thermal capital, making France Europe's #* hydromineral heritage ...

3.3 Mainly rheumatology referrals

Geographically, most spa resorts are located in south-west and south-east France, corresponding to the areas where the mineral springs are found.

Distribution of spa resorts (***)

Source: ****

Next, establishments can be segmented according to their therapeutic orientation. However, the same establishment can adopt several orientations, for example, it may decide to treat ...

3.4 Employment in the sector

According toCNETh, the spa sector generates ***,*** direct, indirect and induced jobs.

Among these ***,*** jobs, the breakdown is as follows:

*,*** direct jobs (***) **,*** indirectand dependent jobs(***) **,*** induced jobs (***)

In addition,there are *** spa doctors practicing in spa resorts

According to the CNETh, **% of spa establishments are located in towns with fewer than ...

3.5 The importance of social security reimbursements for the sector

**% of spa revenues come from reimbursed cures. Reimbursement of spa treatments is therefore vital to this sector. Below is a breakdown of reimbursements by the French health insurance system. it should be noted that some mutual health insurance companies may reimburse all or part of the remaining costs. The Assurance Maladie ...

4 Offer analysis

4.1 A wide range of derivative services

Thermal spas are legally obliged to treat patients for ** days (***) if they wish to be reimbursed. Thermal spas have therefore developed a range of facilities designed to treat a variety of pathologies and ailments.

To diversify their clientele and boost revenues, spas have also developed spa and thermoludism services. These services ...

4.2 Spa prices

The table below shows the prices of the most popular spa treatments (***).

The price of spa treatments can be broken down into the TFR (***), which is the amount remaining to be paid in full by the patient and/or his/her mutual insurance company.

Source: ****

**% of the cost of accommodation ...

4.3 Upmarket and local

The investments made by players inside and outside the sector are aimed at improving spa facilities. One of the primary objectives is to enable establishments to move upmarket. [***] During this decade, the sector has invested heavily: between **** and ****, €*** million was invested in modernizing, enlarging, creating or reopening centers such as Saint-Jean-d'Angély ...

5 Regulations

5.1 Spa regulations

It may be important to note certain regulatory aspects that have marked a breakthrough in the sector. Cures at thalassotherapy centers have no longer been reimbursed by Social Security since ****. Thermal cures, on the other hand, are reimbursed under certain conditions:

The spa cure must be prescribed by a health professional ...

5.2 The quality of the water used is paramount

The process of opening an establishment is a slow and tedious one, involving numerous administrative stages. In particular, approval must be obtained from the Prefecture and the Regional Health Agency. When an establishment wants to set up near a mineral water source or extend its therapeutic orientations, it must forward its ...

5.3 Coverage of spa treatment costs

Assurance Maladie covers all or part of the costs of a spa treatment (***). [***] To qualify, * conditions must be met:

The cure must be prescribed by the patient's attending physician The cure must correspond to an ailment or pathology covered by the regulations (***) The spa must be accredited or approved by the ...

List of charts

  • Spa and thalassotherapy sales
  • Main countries generating sales in the spa and thalassotherapy market
  • Size of the global spa and thalassotherapy market
  • Number of spa visitors
  • Consumption of spa treatments
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Latest news

Balneotherapy: Calicéo expands near Strasbourg - 12/01/2024
  • Lyon-based specialist in urban aquatic relaxation facilities
  • 8 sites in Lyon, Bordeaux and Toulouse.
  • In 2023, Calicéo had sales of nearly 30 million euros and 210 employees
  • The company is part of the Duval Group, which achieved sales of one billion euros in 2022.
After 26 million euros of work, the new ambitions of the Fumades thermal baths - 24/11/2023
  • The Fumades thermal baths are located in Allègre-les-Fumades, in the Cévennes region of Gard.
  • The thermal baths will reopen next April after three years of renovation.
  • The Arenadour spa group has taken over their operation in 2019.
  • The rheumatology accreditation will triple the capacity of the spa.
  • The work will increase the number of curists under contract from 2,400 a year to 6,000 by 2025.
  • New facilities include a 94-square-meter outdoor pool, a 190-square-meter leisure pool, a hammam, a sauna and a hotel residence adjoining the spa with 67 apartments.
  • The hotel residence will contain 24 hotel rooms and 43 rental apartments.
  • The total cost of the works is estimated at 26 million euros
  • The Arenadour group also manages other thermal establishments, which welcome over 40,000 curists every year.
Online casino, moving upmarket: the group's new ambitions - 05/09/2023
  • The Barrière group was founded in 1912.
  • Alexandre Barrière and Joy Desseigne-Barrière took over the chairmanship at the end of July.
  • Groupe Barrière bought out Fimalac for 325 million euros.
  • The group's Fouquet's brand is present in New York, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
  • Groupe Barrière already operates online casinos in Switzerland.
  • The Barrière group owns all its hotels, with the exception of the one in New York.
The Barrière family regains control of its entire group - 31/07/2023
  • Barrière is a major French player in the casino and luxury hotel sectors.
  • Fimalac owned 40% of Société de Participation Deauvillaise, but has now sold its shares for around 325 million euros.
  • The succession to the company's presidency took place last April with the arrival of Alexandre Barrière, the eldest son of CEO Dominique Desseigne.
  • The family's children, who already owned 60% of the capital before Fimalac's exit, now have full control of the company.
Heirs to Barrière hotels and casinos regain control - 31/07/2023
  • Founding of the Lucien Barrière Group: 111 years ago
  • Today, the group is the leading casino operator in France and Switzerland
  • Coexistence with a minority shareholder, Accor, since 1989 and Fimalac since 2011
  • Purchase of Fimalac shares by the group's heirs: 325 million euros
  • Group made up of two entities: Groupe Lucien Barrière and SFCMC
  • Number of properties: 19 hotels (mostly 5-star, including a palace in Courchevel), 32 casinos, 1 gaming club, over 150 bars and restaurants, 16 spas, a thalassotherapy center and a balneotherapy center
  • Number of employees: approx. 6,500
  • Sales in 2022: €1.3 billion.
  • The SFCMC group includes a casino, three beach hotels and seven restaurants.
Vittel thermal baths perpetuated by Banque des territoires - 24/05/2023
  • Club Med focuses on the Hotel l'Ermitage
  • France Thermes will manage the Grand Hôtel and spa under a public service delegation agreement. The group, which employs 1,100 people and will generate sales of €66 million by 2022, plans to increase the number of contract curists by a quarter and quadruple the number of visitors to its spa facilities.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Chaîne Thermale du Soleil
Valvital – Cie Européenne des Bains
Thermes de Balaruc les Bains
Station Thermale de Bagnols les Bains
Station Thermale de Brides-les-Bains
France Thermes
Thermes de Vals-les-Bains
Barrière Groupe
Compagnie Lebon
Caisse des Dépots

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