Hot Springs Initiative Members

The Hot Springs Initiative is an international wellness ThinkTank dedicated to exploring the diverse values of geothermal waters for health, recreation, tourism and community. We seek to connect the global communities involved with geothermal water and to provide network events and conferences to help grow consumer and political awareness of this unique segment of recreation, health and tourism markets (industry). Our intention is to connect the global community of hot springs and geothermal resources by raising awareness of this unique and distinct segment of global recreation, health and tourism industry (community).

Charles Davidson

Charles Davidson

Initiative Chair

Prof. Charles Davidson, Co-Founder, Chairman and Creative Director, Peninsula Hot Springs

Charles Davidson is the co-founder & Chairman of Peninsula Hot Springs; Vice-President FEMTEC Asia-Pacific; Adjunct Professor in the Institute for Sustainable Industries & Liveable Cities at Victoria University; Founding Director Bathe the World Foundation; founding member and past vice-president of the Australasian Wellness Association (ASWell) and a founding member of the Global Hot Springs Initiative. Charles’ passion for hot springs started the moment he entered the waters at Kusatsu Onsen in Japan in 1992. Since then Charles has travelled to 51 countries on hot springs research missions in a search to find how cultures of the world share the gift of thermal waters for health, wellbeing and community creation.

Mark Hennebry

Mark Hennebry

Vice Chair

Mark Hennebry, Chairman, Ensana

Mark Hennebry is director hotels at CP Holdings, chairman of Ensana Health Spa Hotels and vice chairman of Danubius Hotels. In these roles, he is responsible for 45 properties across 5 countries, employing 4,300 people with total revenues exceeding €250 million. Within this portfolio, Ensana is Europe’s leading health spa operator with 26 properties across 4 countries in Central and Eastern Europe. He has spent over 25 years in the hotel, financial and private equity sectors working for global brands including the Maybourne Hotel Group, Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts and PricewaterhouseCoopers. He has a wealth of international experience and has lived and worked in Hong Kong, Brunei, Thailand, the USA and across Europe.


Iztok Altbauer

Managing Director, Slovenian Spa Association, Slovenia

Iztok was appointed to the position to the manager at the Slovenian Spas Association nine years ago, after he spent most of his career in the tourism business. Before this position he was the CEO of Globtour, one of the most important Tour Operators at that time. In his years of work in the Association, Iztok established strong connections to the Health, Spa and Wellness industry in the region of Central Europe. One of the most important projects he is leading and running is “SPA-CE”. The Slovenian Spas Association is also the Founding Member of the Balkan Spa Institute, where Iztok took the role of developing the Balkan Spa Award.

Oddný Arnarsdóttir

Area Manager, Visit Iceland

For over 20 years Oddný has been involved in tourism through work with DMC‘s, PCO‘s but started with Visit Iceland back in 2017. She has a master in International Law which comes in handy in every field and with a degree in Project Management. She is the wellness contact and expert within Visit Iceland and is involved in the sectors marketing and approach. Thermal pools have been relished for both pleasure and health benefits in our society since the first centureis of settlement and with the harnessing of geothermal energy in Iceland then public bathing in one of the hundred public geothermal pools, has become deeply rooted in our culture. The focus is on the sustainability side of geothermal pools and Spas around the country.

Professor Marc Cohen, MBBS (Hons), PhD, B MEd Sc (Hons)

Professor of Health Sciences, RMIT University and Chair, Australasian Wellness Association, Australia

Professor Cohen is one of Australia’s pioneers of integrative and holistic medicine. He is currently chair of the Australasian Wellness Association and a professor at RMIT University where he leads postgraduate wellness programs and supervises research in nutrition, herbal medicine, yoga, lifestyle, and the health impact of pesticides, organic food and detoxification.


Dr. Marcus Coplin

Dr. Coplin is a Naturopathic Medical Doctor specializing in the field of integrative Physical & Rehabilitation Medicine and integrative Oncology. He has over 15 years experience in the treatment of complex and chronic illnesses using nutrition, physical medicine, and natural medicines alongside conventional treatment. Dr. Coplin is the Director of Hydrothermal Medicine for the Balneology Association of North America and North America’s representative to the International Association of Medical Hydrology and Climatology. Dr. Coplin is a consulting Balneologist and Medical Hydrologist for Health Resorts, Urban Bath Houses, and Health and Wellness interests around North America and is the Medical Director for The Springs Resort in Pagosa Springs, CO and Murrieta Hot Springs Resort in Murrieta, CA where he advises on the science-based use of thermal mineral hot spring water for health. Dr. Coplin writes and teaches extensively on the re-emergence of Health Resort culture and programming in the 21st century health care field.


Prof. J. Paul de Vierville, PhD

Owner & Director, Spa Cultures, United States

Dr. J. Paul de Vierville is Professor of History and Humanities at Alamo Colleges, St. Philip’s College, and is a Jungian Psychotherapist/Analytical Consultant. He has been associated with the Balneotherapy Association of North America and the International Association for Study of Dreams. He owns the Alamo Plaza Spa at the historic Menger Hotel in San Antonio,Texas and runs a Spa-Waters: Dreams and Cultures seminar.

Jean Guy de Gabriac

CEO, TIP TOUCH International, France & Belgium

Jean-Guy is an award-winning spa/wellness advisor & educator since 2001, assisting hotels, spa operators & cosmetic brands to go from GOOD to GREAT, integrating WOW factors in their marketing, communication & SOPs to boost client satisfaction. Jean-Guy also serves as conference producer of the World Spa & Wellness Convention ; judge of the World Spa & Wellness Awards ; and founder World Wellness Weekend celebrated in 88 countries on the Equinox of September (21-22 Sept 2019).

David Dronet

Owner, The Springs Resort & Spa, United States

David Dronet is the owner of The Springs Resort & Spa in Pagosa Springs, Colorado; founder of Elan Senior Living, and founder and CEO of Olympus Real Estate Group. David has spent most his career creating environments centered around health, healthcare and wellness. He is the founding ambassador of Aging 2.0 – Austin and a founding board member of the Senior Living Developer Collective. David began using hot springs and hydrotherapy for recovery from physical training related to high-altitude mountaineering. Having experienced the profound impact hot spring waters can have both physically and mentally, he pursued and ultimately purchased The Springs Resort and Spa, home to the deepest geothermal hot spring in the world.

Diana Dryglas, PhD

Professor, AGH University of Science and Technology, Poland

Researcher and academic teacher of economics and management sciences, especially in the field of health, wellness and therapeutic tourism. Diana is the author of numerous scientific and popular science articles in economics and management of tourism and spa resorts, including monographs (e.g. ‘Designing a health tourism product structure model in the process of marketing management’), chapters in monographs, articles in Polish and international journals, co-author of numerous research projects. For many years she has cooperated with the Association of Polish Spa Communes.

Aðalheiður Ósk Guðmundsdóttir (Alla)

CEO of Vök Baths, Iceland

Adalheidur has worked in management, marketing, and sales of professional services and experiences for 20 years in Iceland and UK of which 14 years were in tourism. With a master of innovation and business development Alla looks for innovative ways for improvements with a purpose of increasing customer happiness in Iceland. Alla is a member of Icelandic Spa Association and the Association of Management of Bathing places in Iceland. She believes that proactive and preventative wellness is the future.

Catherine Lan

Chief Representative of the Representative Office of the World Federation of Hydrotherapy and Climatotherapy (FEMTEC)

Catherine won her master degree in Finance & Accounting and bachelor degree of the business management in Europe. She has strong working experience worldwide, such as in the Netherlands, UK, Thailand, Hong Kong and Macau for many years. Catherine got quite academic knowledge and practical experience on strategic management, performance management, training program, marketing, finance and risk control management, etc.. Since 2011, she has been focusing on the hot springs and wellness industries and played an important role in international promoting and cooperation in the fields of hydrotherapy and wellness between China and worldwide.

Roland Lymann

Lecturer, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts Business, Switzerland

Roland Lymann has lectured on destination management and health tourism at the Institute of Tourism since 2008. He holds an “ITW-Forum” with the Swiss wellness industry, is supervisor of the Swiss Wellness destinations and cures, teaches at other universities, gives speeches at conferences and evaluates research projects. Previously, Roland worked as the director of tourism and was responsible for 35 holiday resorts in Europe.

Tomonori Maruyama

Chief Researcher & Manager at the Research Institute, Mitsui Knowledge Industry Co., Ltd., Japan

Tomonori Maruyama is dedicated to global research on current issues such as spa services, quality standards of therapists, labor markets, industry structures, regulations and overseas recruitment systems. As chief researcher of Mistui Knowledge Industry, he and his team undertake studies for the spa industry commissioned by the government. Currently, he is engaged in co-innovation projects with major companies.

Florana Menéndez Camporredondo

Vice president of the World Federation of Hydrotherapy and Climatotherapy (Femtec), Cuba

Florana Menéndez Camporredondo is a renowned professional with expertise in medicine, genetics, and health tourism. She holds a PhD in Human Genetics and serves as a University Professor in Clinical Genetics. Florana is also the Vice President of the World Federation of Hydrotherapy and Climatotherapy (Femtec) and has 25 years of experience in Health Tourism through her company, Sol&Med. She is actively involved in various international organizations and is dedicated to advancing healthcare collaboration and development.

Vicky Nash

Executive Director, Hot Springs Association, United States

With extensive tourism industry experience spanning 40+ years, Vicky Nash specializes in geothermal tourism management and marketing, providing a global perspective and unique expertise in this field. The Hot Springs Association recently recruited Nash to serve as Executive Director for this newly formed organization. She is well-known throughout the industry for originating the Hot Springs Connection conference and the Hot Springs of America website. She also oversees the Colorado Historic Hot Springs Loop, an award-winning marketing collaboration that features the state’s premier thermal locales. After gaining experience in group tour operation and destination marketing, Nash established the tourism communications firm Resort Trends, Inc. 21 years ago and has worked with over 50 clients including visitor bureaus, tourism associations, historic properties, attractions, resorts, hotels, hot springs and spas. Her passion for international travel has taken her to five continents, over 20 countries and more than 80 hot springs facilities.

Marion Schneider

CEO and Co-Owner, Toskanaworld GMBH, Germany

Marion Schneider is CEO and co-owner of Toskanaworld, Klinikzentrum Bad Sulza, Hotel an der Therme Bad Sulza and Bad Orb, Hotel Resort Schloss Auerstedt and Toskana Therme Bad Sulza, Bad Orb and Bad Schandau, all in Germany. She is president of the non-profit Ourchild and on the advisory board of several organizations. She is the author of several books and holds an MA in History as well as in German language and literature.

Jeff Wang

Chairman, Chongqing Hakone Hot Spring & Thermalism Industry, China

With decades of experience in the planning and development of thermal projects, Jeff Wang has served hundreds of premium cases. He has led and worked on the drafting and formulation of four national and industrial hot spring and spa service standards. In 2012 and 2016, he was awarded a Certificate of Merit by FEMTEC to honor his work promoting thermalism, health spas, hydrotherapy and climatotherapy in China.

James White

Hot Springs Research and Development, James D White Ltd, New Zealand

James White is an experienced research and development consultant to the hot springs bathing and spa industries. He is currently engaged to document global best practices in the hot springs industry, which will identify sustainable growth opportunities for public and private businesses in New Zealand and Australia. He holds an MBA degree, and his thesis topic was commercial bathing and spa development concepts.

Zhao Yongming

Deputy Secretary, China Hot Spring Tourism Association; Chairman, Feiteng Holding Group, China

Deputy Secretary of China Hot Spring Tourism Association; Chairman of Feiteng Holding Group; Representative of FEMTEC in China. Since 2013, Zhao is making more and more efforts on external communication and international cooperation with other worldwide thermalism SPA organisation and experts on thermal technologies and concepts on different levels, to promote China Hot Spring tourism.