Vom Öl zum Heilwasser - Die Erfolgsgeschichte von Bad Waltersdorf

Project: TV-Documentary (45min.), ORF III
Production Company: RANfilm 2012
Language: German
Screenplay: Fritz Aigner
Director: Alfred Ninaus
Producer: Alfred Ninaus

1975. An eventful year. The Vietnam War finally ends, Bill Gates founds Microsoft, Steven Spielberg shocks people at beaches all over the world with “Jaws”, Margaret Thatcher is voted as head of the British conservatives, Niki Lauda wins the Formula 1 World Cup for the first time, Bruno Kreisky once again wins the majority of the Austrian national council election votes and in the contemplative market town Waltersdorf, the Austrian Rohölaufschließungsgesellschaft starts to dig for oil. While they did not find any oil however, they uncovered, in 1150 metres depth, a thermal water source which, from now on, determines the future of the region. In the beginning the source is used for heating but soon the people of Waltersdorf look for new opportunities. 1980 marks the start of the building site of a spa – with no help from the government, 43 people from Waltersdorf risk everything: they invest in the construction of not only a spa but also the foundation of the path the region will take. 1984 the spa opens, 1988 Waltersdorf is officially announced a health resort and may be called Bad Waltersdorf. A boom for the entire region which, ever since, is being defined by tourism. Until now Bad Waltersdorf does not want to be a tourism giant. Gentle tourism instead of masses, the guests retaining their individuality. But how unique is Bad Waltersdorf still in the styrian spa-land, where you can find health resorts lining up next to each other, surrounded by lucrative hotel complexes? And how future oriented is tourism in itself, making the region dependent on outside tourists? For how long can the spa be the source of life for Bad Waltersdorf?

In which direction is the town developing? Further towards boundless growth – faster, bigger, more guests, more dependencies – or is it looking for its progress in the small matters, humility, and self-sufficiency?