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Local Gov’t Key in Making Greece a Health Tourism Destination

KEDE President George Patoulis during the “Tourism, Health… Crete’s Potential” conference.

KEDE President George Patoulis during the “Tourism, Health… Crete’s Potential” conference.

Local government must play a key role in the establishment of a national strategy that will promote Greece as a leading medical, health and wellness tourism destination, Central Union of Municipalities of Greece (KEDE) President George Patoulis said during a health tourism conference held in Heraklion, Crete, over the weekend.

Addressing a two-day event titled “Tourism, Health… Crete’s Potential” and attended by the island’s medical associations as well as its mayors, Patoulis – also the head of Athens Medical Association and of Greece’s International Health Tourism Center (IHTC) – reiterated his call for a national plan that will give local governments the upper hand in the decision-making process.

Pointing to the significant contribution to local economies, welfare and employment, Patoulis added that for the scheme to lead to successfully establishing Greece as a competitive health tourism option, offering attractive deals and high-quality services, local stakeholders must work together with health sector professionals and private investors.

“We must work rigorously in this direction and we want you by our side,” Patoulis said. “Let’s join forces – local government, the medical field, the scientific community, private businesses active in health, tourism, recreation and wellness. Let us take action and create new jobs.”

According to KEDE’s president, emphasis must be placed on five key areas if Greece wishes to play a competitive role in wellness and health tourism in the coming years: drawing up a far-reaching national plan; implementing a legal framework ensuring quality services, practices, inspections and licensing; setting up a system of supplementary services and products; offering specialized medical and health services at reduced costs; tapping into international networks.

Meanwhile, on May 21-24, the International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ), together with Greece’s medical tourism council Elitour will be organizing the 2018 IMTJ Medical Travel Summit at the five-star Wyndham Grand Athens.

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