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PROCEEDINGS, Kenya Geothermal Conference 2011 Kenyatta International Conference Center, Nairobi, November 21-22, 2011 HEALTH SPA TOURISM: A POTENTIAL USE OF SAGOLE THERMAL SPRING IN
LIMPOPO PROVINCE, SOUTH AFRICA
Tshibalo, Azwindini Ernest University of South Africa Preller Street, Muckleneuk Ridge, Pretoria ABSTRACT
The Sagole Spa thermal spring is located in Limpopo Province, South Africa, and has a water temperature of about 45°C. The spa flourished in the 1980s as a site for recreation and tourism, but its condition declined for various reasons after 1994, which saw the advent of the new democratic government. However, the water temperature and flow rate have remained the same since the 1980s.The research study sought to identify the most beneficial potential development projects for the thermal spring. The following research methods were used to identify the potential projects: literature review, focus group interviews, site visits and observation, and water sample collection and analysis. Health spa tourism was identified as a potentially viable development project for the spa. Some minerals and trace elements with curative power were identified in the thermal water. The environmental, social and economic impacts and the feasibility of establishing the health spa tourism project were assessed. Development costs and potential benefits were also analyzed. It is concluded that health spa tourism can benefit Sagole, a rural area in Limpopo, South Africa. Keywords: Sagole Spa, health spa tourism, project development, direct use, South Africa dissolved by the new democratic government. The number of working staff was reduced from a team of fifty to a small crew of four. The maintenance and quality of the infrastructure declined. The Background of the study
swimming pools and the lawn deteriorated. The number of visits to the centre declined accordingly. There are many hot springs in South Africa, but the majority of hot springs are found in Limpopo The decline of the centre prompted the researcher Province. A number of hot springs have been to investigate the diverse uses of thermal springs to developed for recreation and tourism while others, determine an environmentally, socially and usually those found in the rural areas, have not economically sustainable use. Health tourism, been similarly developed. Sagole Spa is situated in aquaculture and geothermal education were a rural area, and while it was developed, it is identified as potential development projects. This currently in state of collapse (Tshibalo & Olivier, paper focuses on the development of health spa tourism or of a therapeutic (medical) use for Sagole The Sagole thermal spring is located at the Sagole Village, Mutale Municipality, and within the Vhembe District of Limpopo. The population at the STUDY AREA
village is generally characterized by poverty, illiteracy, and lack of employment (Mutale Geographical location
Municipality, 2008/09). Figure 1 shows the location of thermal springs in Limpopo Province. The Sagole thermal spring is Historical development of Sagole Spa
located in the extreme north-east section of the During the period 1979-1993, Sagole was Limpopo Province. The northern part of the Kruger developed as a recreation and tourism centre by the National Park lies east of Sagole Spa. The absolute Venda Development Corporation (VDC). The built location according to the grid reference is the 22°, infrastructure included: conference halls, chalets, 31' 30" South and the 30°, 40' 40" East (Olivier, the kitchen, sleeping halls and swimming pools. Van Niekerk & van der Walt, 2008). The situation changed in 1994 after the VDC was


PROCEEDINGS, Kenya Geothermal Conference 2011 Kenyatta International Conference Center, Nairobi, November 21-22, 2011 Figure 1. The location of thermal springs in Limpopo Province, South Africa. Source: Olivier, van Niekerk and van der Walt, 2008, p.166. strategies to identify the most appropriate use for Physical and chemical characteristics
Sagole with regard to environmental, social and The terrain morphology consists of closed hills and economic aspects. mountains with high relief and low hills. The vegetation types in the area include Mopani veld, An extensive literature survey was conducted in mixed bushveld and sourish mixed bush. The area order to address the objectives of the research receives an average annual rainfall of between 200mm and 500mm. Rain falls in summer which extends from October to the end of March. The 1. Identify uses of thermal springs and physical average annual temperature is 22°C. Summers are requirements for each use; very hot and dry, while winters are cool and dry 2. Assess Sagole thermal spring in terms of (Development Bank of Southern Africa, 1989). identified criteria for each of the uses and their physical requirements in order to identify potential Socio-economic characteristics
uses for development at Sagole; 3. Determine economic, social and environmental Population impacts of each of the selected potential uses in According to the 2001 National Census, the order to identify their possible and optimal use for following population groups were given for the Mutale Local Municipality: Africans (78,456), Coloureds (29) and Whites (421) (Mutale In order to collect realistic data on the uses and Municipality, 2008/2009). physical requirements for each use, national and international geothermal resource sites, resorts and projects were visited. Data were collected by Economic activities personal communication with managers of resorts Extensive farming (crop and livestock) takes place and geothermal projects. Research field trips were in the area, and other agricultural activities include undertaken to Sagole thermal spring where the orchards, chicken production and maize farming. temperature was measured at source and water Favourable crops in the area include: bananas, samples collected for later analysis by the mangoes, pawpaw, groundnuts, tomatoes, avocados Agricultural Research Council in Pretoria. Focus and marula (Mutale Municipality, 2008/2009). Group Interviews were conducted with various Sagole Spa area is accessible through a tarred road. groups at Sagole. A survey, to rate the potential Electricity is available in the area. projects for development and to identify the available knowledge and skills, was conducted DATA AND METHODOLOGY
within the local community. This was done by The aim of the research is to determine the means of a questionnaire which was administered optimum use for the Sagole thermal spring. The to 200 participants who were chosen randomly at research, therefore, focuses on the investigation of Sagole. The potential impacts were scored the possible diverse uses of thermal springs and according to the scale -4 to +4. Project Feasibility was calculated by using the formula given in Potential use
Reasons for
section 4.2.9. The costs and benefits of each ance:
potential project were calculated by using the cost- benefit analysis method. ANALYSIS
Chemical Properties of Sagole Spring
Table 1 gives the physical and chemical Avoid competition characteristics of the hot spring. Minerals in water
High water quality Temperature: Low Local people are drinking the water Source: Olivier et al, 2008 Table 1: Chemical properties of the Sagole hot Table 2: Comparison of Sagole with potential uses. From Table 2 it is clear that there are three The water temperature at the source is 45,9°C. The potential uses for Sagole: health spa tourism, water is not highly mineralized as the TDS content aquaculture and geothermal education. is only 173,98 mg/l. According to Bond's (1946) classification system, the spring water is alkaline Health spa tourism or medicinal use
with a pH of 8.72. The water is potable and is used by the local community as their main source of domestic supply (Kent & Groeneveld, 1962; Health tourism Winfield, 1980). The International Union of Official Travel Organizations (1973), cited in Vajirakachorn, Potential uses for Sagole
2004, p.8) defined health tourism as "the provision of health facilities utilizing the natural resources of The research identified three potential uses for the country, in particular of mineral water and Sagole. These are health spa tourism or medicinal climate". Kusen (2002:178) gave a broad definition use, aquaculture and geothermal education. This of health tourism which can be paraphrased as section only discusses health spa tourism or follows: health tourism is a complex economic medicinal use. The three potential development projects were selected from potential uses. This activity that aims to foster the skilled, controlled was done by comparing the physical and chemical use of natural health remedies, as well as medicinal characteristics of Sagole's waters with the practices and physical activities for the purpose of requirements of each use. Table 2 below gives the potential use, Sagole's characteristics, acceptance psychological and spiritual health of tourists and or rejection and the reasons for rejection or thereby contributing to quality of their lives. In his conclusion, Vajirakachorn (2004, p.45) defines health tourism as "a form of tourism which attempts to attract tourists who travel for … health purposes by providing health facilities and activities that suit health tourists' needs". A spectrum of health tourism includes physical


healing, beauty treatments, relaxation and rest, tourism include: preventive health care, herbal leisure and entertainment, life and work balance, psychological and spiritual activities (Smith & Puczko, 2009, p. 84). Some of these elements of hydrotherapy, destressing treatments, detoxification the spectrum will be considered for Sagole. programmes, vitamin complex treatments and dietary programmes (Goodrich, 1993, Spivack, The importance of health tourism 1997). Facilities found in health spa tourism include, accommodation, restaurants, hot and cold There are many benefits related to health tourism. swimming pools, thermal spas and hydros, saunas According to Smith and Puczko (2009, pp.75-76), the important benefits of health tourism include: addressing the problem of obesity among young people, special fitness especially for older adults, functional fitness to improve performance for Ideal development for health spa tourism (near- activities for daily living, strength training, ideal model) mind/body exercise for physical improvement in The near-ideal model for development describes favourable conditions for health spa tourism that management and changes in negative lifestyle indicate the potential for profit and sustainability. behaviours. Health tourism can generate wealth. The main objective of the near-ideal model is to World Bank estimates show that health and wellness tourism worldwide exceeds US$40 billion Recommendations for the model are as follows: a year (Caribbean Export, 2008, p.4). 1. Accommodation facilities should meet the Health tourism suitable for Sagole highest expectations of hygiene and create a There are many types of health tourism. They welcoming atmosphere; include spa tourism, leisure tourism, thalasso tourism, yoga and meditation, holistic tourism, 2. The location and atmosphere of the area should spiritual tourism, occupational wellness and be conducive to relaxation; medical tourism (Smith & Puczko, 2009). In order 3. All polluting activities should be absent or to select the type of health tourism suitable for Sagole, the characteristics of Sagole were compared with the requirements of each type of 4. The environment should be protected; health tourism. The characteristics of Sagole are: thermal spring, curative water, thermal pools, 5. Catering should provide healthy food; natural beauty, physical space, cultural art and accommodation. In this regard, health spa tourism 6. Health improvement facilities and treatments meets all the characteristics of Sagole. should be available; and Characteristics of health spa tourism 7. Health facilities should include: individual small The basic requirements of health spa tourism are: thermal pools at each chalet, hydrotherapy baths, water, food or nutrition, exercise or movement, indoor rheumatism baths, for example, and outdoor massage or body work, mind/body physical pools, jacuzzis and steam rooms. environmentally suitable area, climate, cultural Figure 2 shows the layout of the proposed near- aspects, management and staff, beauty treatments, ideal health spa model. spa baths, hydrotherapy and relaxation techniques (DeVierville, 1998, cited in Lund, 1999; Kusen, 2002, p.177). Treatments found in health spa Figure 2: Layout of the proposed near-ideal health spa mode. PROCEEDINGS, Kenya Geothermal Conference 2011 Kenyatta International Conference Center, Nairobi, November 21-22, 2011 Suitability of health spa tourism at Sagole construction costs would be cheaper than in This section discusses the suitability of Sagole for mountainous sites. health spa tourism in terms of the availability of the curative chemicals and trace elements in the Social factors thermal water, and in terms of the environmental, The South African Government and its social and economic aspects. stakeholders (provincial government, the local municipality and the local community) are willing Availability of curative chemicals/trace elements in to support and promote tourism development. This thermal water is demonstrated by the development of the National Table 3 gives some chemicals and trace elements Responsible Tourism Guideline in 2001 (Keyser, found in thermal water at Sagole. 2009, p.41). The skills survey conducted at Sagole revealed that there are enough skills in hospitality and catering, arts and crafts, and traditional beverages. There is a low percentage of people Potential curative power/Essential in
with professional skills such as management and Elements
human health
administration (about 14%). Some local people Essential in human diet need to be trained in this area. Promotes dental health Economic factors Has significant medical importance for The main fund for tourism in South Africa is the circulatory and heart disorders May heal hepatic insufficiency (inability government. The government has established of the liver to function properly) and institutions to promote tourism such as: Industrial problems with the accumulation of Development Corporation, Khula, the Independent Bicarbonate water May relieve gastrointestinal illness, hepatic insufficiency and gout Development Corporation, and the Kagiso Trust Sodium Chlorinated May cure chronic infection of mucous (South African Government Information, 1996). membrane (Ledo, 1996) The potential market for health tourism includes Recommended for diseases such as gout, wealthy, matured, individuals, couples, small urinary and kidney stone complaints groups, elderly, and middle-aged "empty nesters" Trace elements
(Mueller & Kaufmann, 2001, p.10). The available Essential for AIDS, arthritis, asthma, infrastructure at Sagole makes it a suitable venue for health tourism. The infrastructure includes: chalets, a kitchen, swimming pools, and an Reduction in bone pain from patients administration office. suffering from osteoporosis; Improvement observed in patients with Development plan for the health spa tourism at postmenopausal osteoporosis It builds thyroid hormones, the nervous system and metabolism The plan is in three phases namely: Lithium salts treat manic-depressive illness, (bi-polar disorders) or may be 1: Preliminary activities; used as an antidepressant. 2: Renovation of existing infrastructure and Important in human diet construction of new buildings; Can be used as food supplement mineral Dietary requirement for many organisms 3: Buying equipment, putting system in place Applied as medicine to cure cancer. and hiring staff. Compounds are used in tumour therapy Table 3: Curative chemical/trace elements in Potential impact of health spa tourism at Sagole During the construction and operational stage of health spa tourism, both negative and positive Thermal water at Sagole is suitable for medicinal impacts are possible. These may be environmental, use as shown in Table 3. socio-cultural and economic impacts. Environmental factors Environmental impacts include air pollution, water The climate at Sagole is characterized by low pollution, noise pollution and solid wastes, impacts summer rainfall and dry frost-free winters. The on land and biological resources and aesthetic climate would be cherished by visitors from Europe impacts. Table 4 shows how the environmental Fernandez-Mayoralas impact was rated on a scale of -4 to +4. 2004).The terrain is flat, an indication that Bad ← → Good
Rating scale
Factors
(indicators):

Climate:
Air quality Dust Geology:
Biological
Resources:
Vegetation
resources:
Surface
hydro Water quality Total Scores
Table 4: Environmental impact rating. Bad ← → Good

Bad ← → Good
Rating scale
Rating scale
Social factors:
Economic
Factors:
Generation of
Total scores
Table 5: Social impact rating. Potential social and economic impacts were rated in the same manner (as shown in Table 4). Their scores are shown in Tables 5 and 6. Social impacts include impact on employment, cultural aspects, human health and the lifestyle of the local community. Total scores
Economic impacts include impacts on revenue Table 6: Economic impact rating. generation, jobs and income, tourism multipliers, other industries and infrastructure, foreign Total scores for environmental, social and exchange and rural development. Both negative economic impacts show more positive impacts that and positive impacts of environmental, social and negative impacts from the development of health economic aspects were scored according to the spa tourism. It can therefore be concluded that given scale (-4 to +4). health spa tourism has benefits in terms of environmental, social and economic aspects. Feasibility of health spa tourism at Sagole health spa tourism enterprise can be promoted in In section 4.2.8, the total scores were calculated for the environment, social and economic impacts. If any of these were negative, they would also have a Cost-benefit analysis negative influence on the feasibility of establishing Cost-benefit analysis is a technique that is used by a health spa tourism enterprise. Thus by decision-makers to compare the various costs implication, if impacts are positive, the associated with an investment or project with the establishment of the enterprise will be promoted. potential benefits that it proposes to return. A project should not be undertaken if expected In this section, the total weighted score and the mean score of each of the environmental, social Environmental Affairs and Tourism, 2004, p. 4). and economic impacts are calculated as follows: The costs and benefits of the proposed health spa tourism project are analyzed in this section. Total weighted score = ∑( ) There are Phase 1 and Phase 2 projects. The Phase The mean score = Total weighted score/N = ∑( 1 Project is mainly focused on the renovation of the existing infrastructure, adding new buildings, buying new office furniture, computers and Where = Environmental, social and economic communication equipment. Recruiting, hiring and training of new management and administrative staff are part of Phase 1 of the Project. The Phase 2 Where = Number of weighted scores Project focuses on the building of chalets, a N = Number of occurrences natatorium and fitness centre. Table 8 gives a summary of costs for both the Phase 1 and Phase 2 Environmental feasibility rating can be calculated as shown in Table 7. buildings, 3 033 000 equipment, labour and training New buildings and equipment Total weighted score =+3 10 803 000
Mean Score = +3/11 = +0.27 Table 8: Summary: Phase 1 and Phase 2 costs. Table 7: Environmental feasibility rating scores. The labour cost per annum for 2 managers, 2 Social feasibility rating can be calculated as shown personal assistants, 2 office administrators, 2 receptionists, 2 electricians, 2 IT technicians, 1 plumber and 5 cleaners was estimated at R1 418 Potential financial benefits were estimated and calculated as shown in Table 9. Phase 1 and Phase Total weighted score = +9 2 costs were not included in this analysis. It is Mean score = +9/4 = +2.25 assumed the South African Government will fund Table 8: Social feasibility rating scores the projects as a strategy for job creation. Economic feasibility rating can be calculated as shown in Table 9. of visits
Total weighted score = +15 Mean score = +15/6 = +2.5 Table 9 Economic feasibility scores. Table 9: Labour costs and benefits estimates. The overall mean values indicate that the development of health spa tourism at Sagole has a The benefits of having such a project far outweigh positive environmental, social and economic the costs. The surplus of R3 944 000 is big enough feasibility rating. Therefore the establishment of a to cover maintenance and other services in the Lund, J.W., (1999). Balneological use of thermal health tourism venture. and mineral waters in the USA, Geo-Heat Center, Klamath Falls: Oregon Institute of Technology: DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
accessed February The current infrastructure at Sagole which includes, the tarred road, 6 chalets, outdoor swimming pools, Mutale Municipality, 2008/2009. IDP Review ablution facilities, a reception office and kitchen Document for 2008/2009, are strengths for the development of health spa tourism. Non-toxic thermal water bubbling at a accessed June 14, temperature of about 46°C is an added advantage. A strategy needs to be developed to manage and market the new venture. Local people, the local Oliver, J., van Niekerk, H.J. & van der Wald, I.J., Government and the private sector need to work (2008). Physical and chemical characteristics of together to address the challenges facing the thermal springs in the Waterberg area in Limpopo Province, South Africa. Water SA, 2, April, 163- development at Sagole. The analysis provided in this paper supports the development of health spa tourism at Sagole. Rodriguez V., Fernandez-Mayoralas, G. & Rojo F., (2004). International retirement migration: Retired REFERENCES
Europeans living on the Costa Del Sol, Spain, Bond, G.W., (1946). A geochemical survey of the Population Review, 43 (1), 1-36. underground water supplies of the Union of South Africa. Memoirs Geol. Surv. S. Afr. 41, 208. Smith, M. & Puczko, L., (2009). Health and wellness tourism, Tokyo: Elsevier Caribbean Export, (2008). Health and wellness tourism: Ten strategies for success within the South African Government Information, (1996). Caribbean Single Market & Economy (CSME). The Development and Promotion of Tourism in Barbados: Caribbean Export Development Agency, South Africa, Department of Environmental affairs St. Michael, accessed accessed March 17, 2011 Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT), (2004). Cost Benefit Analysis, Integrated Spivac, S.E. (1997). Health Spa development in the Environmental Management Information Series. US: A burgeoning component of sport tourism. Pretoria: Department of Environmental Affairs and Journal of Vacation Marketing, 4 (1), 65-77, February 11, 2011. Development Bank of Southern Africa, (1989). Development Information: Region G. Halfway Tshibalo, A.E. and Olivier, J., (2010). Sagole Spa House: Institute of Development Research. Resort, Current and Potential Uses. Proceedings World Geothermal Congress 2010, Bali, Indonesia, Goodrich, J.N., (1993). Socialist Cuba: A study of 25-29 April 2010, 1-10.
health tourism. Journal of Travel Research, 32 (1), Vajirakachorn, T., (2004). Implementation of an accessed February 1, 2011. effective health tourism development plan for Thailand, Unpublished MSc thesis. University of Kent, L.E. & Groeneveld, D., (1962). Warm and Wisconsin-Stout: Hospitality and Tourism. cold springs on Richmond, Pilgrim's Rest District, Transvaal, Annals of the Geological Survey of Winfield, O. (1980). The Thermal Springs of South Africa (1) 175-182. Venda, Mining Corporation Limited, Pretoria: Geological Research Department. Keyser, H., (2009). Developing tourism in South Africa: Towards competitive destinations, Cape Town: Oxford Kusen, E., (2002). Heath Tourism, Tourism, 50 (2), 175-188. Ledo, E., (1996). Mineral Water and Spas in Spain, Clinics in Dermatology, 14, 641-646.

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