‘Robust turnaround’ planned for Lava hot springs amid increase in wellness tourism
The following is a press release and a photo of the town of Lava Hot Springs.
LAVA HOT SPRINGS – Wellness tourism and mineral and hot springs have taken a dip during the COVID-19 pandemic, but both sectors are expected to rebound dramatically over the next five years. Lava Hot Springs is already enjoying a solid recovery.
Prior to the pandemic, wellness tourism spending and mineral and thermal pool revenues were growing robustly in North America and around the world, according to the Global Wellness Institute’s December 2021 report, “The Global Wellness Economy: Looking Beyond COVID â. As the coronavirus increased, spending on wellness tourism and income from mineral and thermal pools in North America fell 38.5% and 25.6%, respectively, while they fell by 39, 5% and 38.9%, respectively, globally.
Attendance at Lava Hot Springs has fallen 22.6% over the same period.
âThere is no doubt that wellness tourism, spas and thermal / mineral springs are the sectors of the wellness economy that have been hit hardest by COVID-19,â write the authors of the report. âThese areas require physical presence and / or full immersion for the real experience. Although some companies have tried, it has not been easy to replicate the experience of a retreat, massage or hot spring bath through virtual or mechanical (contactless) offerings or products.
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GWI predicts that the 11 sectors of the global wellness economy will experience growth over the next five years, with wellness tourism and thermal and mineral springs leading the way, showing annual growth rates of 20, 9% and 18.1%, respectively.
Meanwhile, Lava Hot Springs is already recovering at an astonishing rate. Idaho State Park‘s pools attracted almost as many visitors in late October 2021 – 442,677 – as they did throughout the pre-pandemic 2019 – 444,565. 53.1% year-over-year growth compared to cumulative totals of 289,098 guests through October 2020.
“In the aftermath of the pandemic, hot spring owners who were able to continue operating did so with reduced capacity, but they had record years,” Hot Springs Association executive director Vicky Nash said. .
âHistorically, American hot spring facilities have always been crowded on weekends,â said Nash, who is actively involved in the Global Wellness Institute’s Hot Springs initiative. âBut the pandemic forced everyone to distribute guests more evenly throughout the week, which was great, and more and more operators introduced reservation systems that required guests to designate hours of service. soaking. This regulated capacity levels more efficiently, which actually allowed for a better all-around experience and maximized bookings. “
Lava Hot Springs is in eastern Idaho, next to the mountainous Portneuf River Valley, along the historic Oregon and California Trail Route, and people have gathered here for centuries to bathe in its suffocating, soothing, mineral-rich waters. Once part of the original Fort Hall reserve of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, Lava Hot Springs was ceded by Congress to the State of Idaho for public baths in 1902.
The Lava Hot Springs Foundation, an agency of the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, is responsible for the operation, management, control, maintenance, and improvement of land and property.
Foundation executive director Devanee Morrison said Lava Hot Springs has grown in popularity as a health and wellness destination over the past two to three decades.
âOur hot springs have grown significantly over time from the construction of the park’s first public bath in 1918 to the five pool complexes our guests enjoy today,â said Morrison. “Our facilities include the world-renowned hot pools – which range in temperature from 102 to 112 degrees Fahrenheit – as well as our outdoor Olympic swimming complex, an indoor aquatic center, the indoor Portneuf Kiddie cove and a water slide park. outside.”
Morrison said what makes the water in Lava Hot Springs unique is that it surfaces at an optimum temperature – 112 degrees Fahrenheit – and has a remarkably low sulfur content.
âWe don’t need to heat or cool our natural geothermal water,â Morrison said, âand it doesn’t have that rotten egg smell you encounter in a lot of other hot mineral springs. Our pools are also incredibly clean, with 2 1/2 million gallons of fresh and hot mineral water in and out each day.
George Katsilometes, owner of Lava Hot Springs Inn & Spa, has a bachelor’s degree in zoology from UC Berkeley, a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Washington State University, and a doctorate. UC Davis in Endocrinology – is the resident expert in local water chemistry. He said that the health benefits of its water and eight mineral hot springs are numerous and well documented and that high concentrations of at least five minerals distinguish Lava Hot Springs water: calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc.
âThe most important mineral is calcium, and there is a lot of calcium carbonate in our water,â Katsilometes said. âIt’s good for your bones, your teeth and everything. Your heart, muscles, and nerves also need calcium to function properly.
âAfter that, there is iron, which carries vital oxygen in our red blood cells. And then there’s magnesium, which helps relieve depression and improves your mood. It also helps in the transmission of nerve impulses, regulation of body temperature, detoxification, energy production and the formation of healthy bones and teeth. Magnesium is especially important for the reproductive health of women.
âManganese is similar to magnesium. It helps in bone formation, thyroid function, connective tissue formation, sex hormone function, calcium absorption, blood sugar regulation, immune function and fat metabolism and carbohydrates.
“And the high amount of zinc in our water promotes healthy immune system function, aids digestion, helps control diabetes, reduces stress levels, improves energy metabolism, and speeds healing of acne and superficial wounds. . “
Beyond the state park itself, hot springs are plentiful throughout the area. Home Hotel, Lava Hotel & Spa, Lava Hot Springs Inn & Spa, and Riverside Hot Springs Inn & Spa offer hot mineral soaking experiences, as well as Downata Hot Springs approximately 30 miles south of Lava Hot Springs. While it does not offer hot pools, the historic Harkness Hotel located near McCammon operates a luxurious and renowned spa just 10 minutes from Lava Hot Springs (and 10 minutes closer to the local ski resort, Pebble Creek).
Morrison said Lava Hot Springs, whose DataUSA.io website reported a population of just 232 full-time residents in 2019, averaged more than 37,000 monthly visitors in the same year.
She said the destination draws visitors from all over the world – including England, Germany, Korea and Australia – but draws most of its guests from Utah, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. She said the community also sees a lot of traffic from Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico and the Dakotas, as well as Canadian tourists traveling south or returning home.
The town is 40 minutes southeast of Pocatello, 2.5 hours north of Salt Lake City, and 3 hours south of West Yellowstone, MT along US Route 30 near Interstates 15 and 80 and US Route 91.
There are many other features and activities that make Lava Hot Springs an idyllic health and wellness destination, Morrison said.
âIn general, it’s a really good destination to come and do more than one activity,â she said. âThere are several things to do. In the winter there is a ski resort called Pebble Creek and the Mink Creek Nordic Center which is not far from us, so you can come ski or snowboard for the day and then enjoy a swim. You can also snowshoe above Dempsey Creek, and there are several places here for snowmobiling.
Lava Zipline Adventure operates a year-round zipline and ropes course, available by reservation.
When the weather is nice, Morrison said the outdoor recreation options include mountain biking, hiking, golfing, two disc golf courses (with a local retailer, Mountain Mayhem Adventure Rentals, which sells and rents them. discs), fishing and boating on the Portneuf River, which winds through the city. Lava Hot Springs also offers outdoor tennis courts and a pickleball court.
It is also very practicable on foot.
âLava Hot Springs is such a small town,â Morrison said. âIt’s extremely passable on foot. Our city limits are approximately one square mile in total. The biggest challenge is finding a parking space, but once you do, you can park for the day and walk everywhere. Our downtown area is just lovely, with a great collection of local restaurants and shops. And we have eight scenic parks, including our Sunken Gardens which feature native and imported flowers and plants and the ancient remains of seaweed reefs.
The city also holds a wellness festival every spring designed to nourish body, mind and spirit. The event is presented by the Lava Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce and the format changes annually. It normally takes place in mid-May, but chamber board members have said they are monitoring www.wellness.lavahotsprings.org as the dates will likely be moved to 2022.
Visit the website for more ideas on how to make Lava Hot Springs your personal care sanctuary.