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).
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, 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.