Turkey’s thermal springs, renowned for their therapeutic qualities, draw hundreds of tourists each year from different parts of the world, notably from Scandinavia, the Arab world and East Asia.

In the central Anatolian province of Sivas, a thermal spring that is home to a special kind of fish which  is believed to aid in the treatment of psoriasis. The spring’s fish are often called “physician fish” by the locals, and are very popular among Japanese tourists. “Psoriasis is a common disease in Japan, and they prefer Sivas’s thermal springs for treatment,” said Omer Tontus, the general director for health development at the Health Ministry, adding that the ministerial staff paid field visits to the thermal springs to determine their tourism profile.

Scandinavians, including Norwegians and Swedes, constitute the second-largest number of visitors to thermal springs, mostly preferring those in the Aegean province of Izmir, specifically in the Balcova district. Tontus said Swedish tourists also visit the thermal springs in the western province of Denizli.

According to Tontus, the north-western city of Bursa tops the list as the city that attracts the most foreign tourists to its thermal springs. “Tourists coming to visit thermal springs in Turkey prefer Bursa at first. Around 30 percent of them visit there. Among these individuals, 90 percent of them are Arab tourists,” he said. The cities of Afyonkarahisar in the province of Afyon and Kutahya in Kutahya province are two other important spots for thermal tourism. “Afyonkarahisar and Kütahya draw tourists from Scandinavian, European and Arab countries,” he added.

Thermal spring tourism can be divided into two main parts. The first includes travelling to thermal springs for vacation and the second is for therapeutic treatment, which is specifically an underdeveloped aspect of the sector. “Physicians or alternative medicine centres recommend thermal springs to patients with rheumatism or psoriasis,” he said. He added that physicians sometimes advise patients to sit in a thermal spring for 20 minutes or exercise in the springs as part of their prescribed treatment.


Source:  Daily Sabah

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