Taipas Termal uses its historical facilities to create business opportunities for SMES to supply Nutrition and fitness ativities for an ageing fit program.
Thermal Parks are a reality implemented in Portugal, as a tourism asset, since the second half of the 19th century. They were developed within the European hygienist movement.
Being ancient structures, devoted to health tourism, one could expect they would be successful, particularly in a time of longevity records with health problems linked with a sedentary life-style, to which Thermal Parks can address solutions. However not only Thermal Parks usually are not used as a preferred solution for life-style diseases, but often they also face a strong seasonality with long low season periods.
To fight this situation Taipas Thermal developed a program devoted to promote an Ageing Fit process. Taipas Thermal, itself a SME (a social cooperative with 20 collaborators), stimulated external SMEs to develop and supply Experiences concerning nutrition activities to prepare an Ageing Fit for 55+ SILVER citizens, introducing new attitudes toward food in these ages. Likewise, the project has a physical fitness Ageing Fit program, also supplied by an external SME which, while attending people from all ages, devotes a particular attention to 55+, in order to develop a specific product turned to the Ageing Fit segment. The main stakeholders are Guimarães municipality and the local community. Supplier SME’s use Taipas Thermal Park facilities. The project is a Taipas Thermal concept, even though it creates business to external SMEs on Nutrition and on Physical Fitness.
Apart from the group of 20 collaboratores the anual cost fo the program is of circa 218.000 €, between facilities maintainance and expert costs. However the cooperative has a positive finantial result.
Evidence of success
The practice is very well established and has a very complete and professional and commited team.
From less than 600 users in 2002, after the Thermal Park reopening in 2015, with this new strategic project, in 2018, 8438 of which circa 60% are people connected with the healthier ageing process.
It was difficult to establish within the managing project for the Thermal Park the need to develop a specific project for life changing experiences, in order to achieve a “better ageing process” product.
Potential for learning or transfer
The way SME's interact with the main institution, granting professional skills
and service, without endangering the sustainability of the cooperative is exemplar. This practice represents a vision of taking existing resources and, while creating opportunities, for SME’s to work, create a new dynamic for the Thermal Park.