11 Sep Presentation of the Raia Termal project at Termatalia
Recently, the “Raia Termal” project has been approved as part of the Spain-Portugal Cross-border Cooperation Operational Programme (POCTEP) 2014-2020, the main objective being the conversion of the cross-border area, which is linked to the international sections of the Miño and Limia rivers, into a reference point for thermal, nature and cultural tourism.
This project contemplates the design of an offer of itineraries and excellent products with which it is tried to integrate the thermalism with the natural and cultural resources associated to both sides of the border, with a unique and common tourist strategy for the whole territory. It is promoted by Spanish institutions such as the Miño-Sil Hydrographic Confederation and Ourense Provincial Council and Portuguese institutions such as the Municipal Chambers of Melgaço and Terras of Bouro. With this project, the administrations of both countries have joined forces to try to create a cross-border management structure in order to coordinate strategies and actions for the promotion and commercialization of a Unique Thermal Tourist Destination.
In recent years, the municipalities within the project’s scope of action, such as Bande, Cortegada, Lobios and Muiños, have improved their spa and leisure facilities. As an example, the new Cortegada spa, inaugurated in 2015, and the new thermal pools in Bande have been built, starting the way for the tourist promotion of its thermal and nature resources.
For its part, the County Council of Ourense is leading the Thermal Tourism Plan for the province of Ourense and the Spa Train Program, in collaboration with RENFE, to offer affordable tourist packages. The Miño-Sil Hydrographic Confederation, for its part, has carried out projects that contribute to boosting the economy linked to the use of water in the municipalities of its district.
In Portugal, the Municipal Chamber of Melgaço has made improvements in the infrastructures of the Termas do Peso, requiring new improvement actions in its surroundings. On the other hand, the Municipal Chamber of Terras of Bouro has promoted and carried out actions that improve its tourist offer based on the thermalism, nature and ethnography of the environment of the Gerês-Xurés Transfrontier Biosphere Reserve (RBTGX).
Administrations and their involvement in the “Raia Termal” project
With the aim of maintaining and complementing the culture linked to the thermal areas and taking into account the existence of European funds for cross-border cooperation, he encouraged us to present the programme POCTEP a candidature that has benefited from the involvement and effort of its beneficiaries, as evidenced by the multitude of preparatory meetings held, including a day organised in Melgaço under the title, “Thermal Raia: a destination in two countries”, and which has borne fruit with its recent approval. Right now we are already taking the first steps in the implementation of the project.
Taking into account the complexity of the “Raia Termal“, the number of partners and the time frame for implementation, which is estimated at 36 months, the project stands at 2.66 million euros, of which 75% will be co-financed by the Feder.
This investment can be divided into action areas, and the fact is that, at a first level, the amount to be used for intangible goods/services is very important, but without forgetting the works. As an example of investments of the first type are: the drafting of a road map for the promotion of thermalism in the area, the organization of an international event on the subject, the design of a model for the management and exploitation of “pools”, or the definition of segmented cross-border tourism products, in collaboration with the agents of the area, that combine accommodation and complementary offers on both sides of the border.
Among the actions planned are, among others, the following
- Construction of a motorhome area in Bande.
- Outdoor thermal pools in the surroundings of the Cortegada spa resort.
- Construction of a detachable dam in the Caldo river, next to the Lobios spa.
- Creation of a fitness park at the Melgaço Hot Springs.
- Construction of trails in the area of O Corgo – Muiños.
- Recovery, improvement and conditioning of the banks of the river Gerês as it flows through the Vila do Gerês (Terras of Bouro).
The Administrations involved in the “Raia Termal” project are aware that the joint effort makes us stronger and we believe that this is the way to achieve a cross-border geospace of reference, so we will continue to work without sparing efforts to enhance our thermal resources and nature.
The presentation of the project will take place on Thursday 21 at 11.15 am within the framework of the International Meeting of Thermal Cities and Villas.