A bill that will put an end to legal uncertainties and cover any gaps that hinder the development of medical tourism in Greece should be completed by the end of this year, according to an announcement made during the presentation of a study by the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, yesterday, Thursday, 17 October, in Athens.
The law will act in accordance with the present EU Directive on cross-border healthcare that sets the minimum requirements for safety, information, and liability.
According to the study “Development of Medical Tourism in Greece,” the specific form of tourism could contribute some 400 million euros to the country’s economy over the next two to three years.
The study mentioned that from approximately five million medical tourism patients, medical tourism destinations annually earn $20 million in revenue while medical expenses reach an average $3,000-$4,000. The sum refers exclusively to medical tourism and the costs of medical services (not travel and accommodation outside hospitals).
Speaking at the event, Greek Tourism Minister Olga Kefalogianni referred to joint actions planned by the Tourism Ministry and Health Ministry in regards to medical tourism.
According to the tourism minister, both ministries will establish a committee to monitor the issue and submit proposals for its development and improvement.
Also, certified hospitals and hotels with high standards will be included in a healthcare travel package that will offer accommodation and transport for medical tourists throughout their stay in Greece.
The tourism minister said the ministry intends to support all areas that have hospital facilities and a well-trained scientific workforce that can welcome medical tourists and offer services that include orthopedic surgery/rehabilitation, cosmetic surgery, dialysis services, artificial insemination and dental/ophthalmology services.
“The supply of hospital infrastructure in our country, the sufficient and worthy medical staff combined with Greece’s climatic conditions and hotel infrastructure, can compose a very competitive medical tourism product,” the president of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, Yiorgos Tsakiris, said.
Countries with the most revenue from medical tourism include India, Singapore, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico, Costa Rica, Cuba, Hungary and Turkey.
Professor of Social Medicine, University of Athens and President of the National Organization for Medicines Yiannis Toundas and economist Aristos Doxiadis carried out the “Development of Medical Tourism in Greece” study on behalf of the hotel chamber.
The presentation of the study was carried out within the framework of a series of thematic discussions on Greek tourism, an initiative launched last year by the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels.