Greece Puts Health, Medical Tourism High on Agenda

Health tourism has the potential to provide economic opportunities and its development is one of the immediate priorities of the Greek Tourism Ministry, according to the country’s deputy tourism minister, Sofia Zacharaki.

“It is time to move on and explore all of our possibilities for the development of this tourism sector,” Zacharaki said on Wednesday while speaking at an event in Athens focused on health/medical tourism in Greece.

Data shows that medical tourism is one of the most dynamic markets worldwide. Stakeholders in Greece in recent years have launched concerted efforts for the country to emerge as a medical tourism destination given the high level of services provided in both tourism and health. However, as agreed by all parties during the event, more has to be done.

According to Zacharaki, the tourism ministry will cooperate with all agencies including the World Health Organization (WHO) to promote necessary legislative regulations so Greece could more effectively tap in to health and wellness tourism.

She highlighted that this year and in 2023 health tourism will be one of the ministry’s highest priorities.

Zacharaki said the ministry is in constant dialogue with the Greek Health Tourism Council (Elitour) and revealed the ministry’s plans to make better use of Greece’s “hundreds” of thermal springs to develop wellness tourism in collaboration with the municipalities.

“A large portion of funds from the recovery fund will be invested towards this direction,” she said.

‘Health, Wellness and Greek Hospitality Village’

Speaking during the event, Attica Governor and ELITOUR President George Patoulis spoke of the Council’s plans to create of a “Health, Wellness and Greek Hospitality Village” in Athens.

“There, visitors will have the opportunity receive information all year round on how to create better living conditions, improve mental health and wellbeing,” Patoulis said.

Announced in February, Elitour aims to create an area, a “village”, where guests can experience Greek hospitality through a series of wellbeing programs and activities. As part of the project, medical units would be linked with tourist facilities into a unified tourism entity.

A Greek NGO, Elitour aims to promote health tourism in Greece and boost the medical tourism segment in Greece by promoting high-end healthcare services in collaboration with experienced operators and tourism enterprises.

Seneca Medical Group

The event took place in Athens at the Seneca Medical Group, one of the most innovative hair transplant clinics in Europe, active in the United Kingdom and Greece.

The company offers innovative and medically advanced hair loss treatments, using a personalised system of diagnosis.

Highlighting the advantages of medical tourism for Greece, the company’s CEO, George Kottaridis, said that 45 percent of the people that visit the Seneca clinic in Athens for hair loss restoration are from abroad.

He stressed that medical tourism has great potential for development and that the government should focus more on the sector.

“We need to upgrade the country’s tourism infrastructure and health services, so that medical services can be licensed within tourism facilities,” Kottaridis said.

According to Seneca’s CEO, it is necessary for the government to create a certification scheme for medical tourism units in Greece and also provide subsidies to further boost the sector in the country.

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