Roundtable Nº 3:
Thermal Tourism – Potential of development on a global level?

Simone Zagrodnik

Executive Director, European Historic Thermal Towns Association.

Simone studied business and tourism at the Cologne Business School (Cologne, Germany), graduating in 2002. With a specialisation in destination marketing and incoming tourism, she worked for tour operators and companies in Thailand and Germany. In 2005 Simone started her job as tourism marketing manager in the German town of Wiesbaden, also known as the “world spa city of the 19th century”.

After having engaged and participated in the development of the European Historic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA) from a members’ perspective for almost a decade. Simone was appointed as Executive Director of the EHTTA in 2020.

Certified as Cultural Route of the Council of Europe, EHTTA liaises with various European and International associations and networks promoting its transnational European tourism product with the winning combination of culture, heritage, wellbeing, and health. As an Affiliate Member of UNWTO, EHTTA has been organising the International Congress on Thermal Tourism in 2022 and 2023 with the goal to raise more awareness for thermal tourism on a global level.

Miguel Gallego

Head of Marketing, European Travel Commission, Brussels

Miguel Gallego has over fifteen years of experience in destination marketing. He has held positions at various levels of tourism administration, ranging from city tourism boards to regional and national tourism organisations. Since 2012, he has served as the Head of Marketing and Communication at the European Travel Commission. In this role, he coordinates various EU-funded projects in the tourism sector and provides support to National Tourism Organisations in their marketing efforts to promote Destination Europe across key long-haul markets. Mr. Gallego is also a lecturer in tourism and a frequent speaker at international conferences. He has contributed to several publications and research papers related to destination marketing and tourism development.

Ava Roxanne Stritt

Writer and content creator

Ava Roxanne Stritt has been called the most influential person in the world on spa travel and a top authority on luxury travel. Followers of @SpaTravelGal will tell you she is responsible for transforming the idea of a regular spa day into a full wellness adventure! She believes that spa, travel, and skincare experiences are not only a luxury, but essential to a healthy body, mind & spirit. Her passion for unique ex-periences has taken her around the world from “taking the waters” in Europe’s thermal spas to hiking to waterfalls in the rainforests of Ecuador for a massage surrounded by hummingbirds. She is the founder of Spa Travel Gal. She is a member of the Society of Ameri-can Travel Writers and Wellness Tourism Association. She enjoys Bar-re3 workouts, hiking with her dogs Lily & Ellie and traveling with her husband Kerry.

Kentaro Suzuki

General Manager of Business Planning Division, JTB Tourism Research and Consulting Co.

« Exploring Japan’s Hot Springs Culture: A Thermal Adventure »

Kentaro Suzuki, has been actively involved in several travel-related enterprises within the Japan Travel Bureau (JTB) Group since 1998. He has worked as a Corporate Sales Representative, a Business Development Manager at the headquarters, and a Global Marketing Manager in the Global HQs. During 2007 and 2009, he embarked on a significant academic journey at Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, where he dedicated himself to the pursuit of knowledge and professional growth.

Back to Tokyo, Kentaro was tasked with leading the internationalization of JTB Corporate Business as a professional producer and director, responsible for linking JTB’s global clients with Japanese local companies and providing specialist support for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE). At the same time, he was appointed Director of the Worldwide Sponsor’s Olympic “Hospitality Program” for both the PyeongChang 2018 and Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

After the conclusion of the Olympic and Paralympic projects in 2021, Kentaro transferred to JTB Tourism Research & Consulting, where he has assumed the role of General Manager of Global Marketing, where he plays a pivotal role in overseeing and managing a diverse portfolio of global tourism projects.

Additionally, he offers consultancy services to a wide range of both domestic and international clients, providing them with expert guidance on navigating the complexities of the travel and tourism industry.