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Study: Senior and Health Tourism Should Be Greece’s Next Priority

Greece stands to gain significantly if it manages to tap into third age tourism which will create parallel products and contribute to local and the overall economy, a recent paper released by research and policy institute diaNEOsis found.

According to the report, attracting an additional 1 million mature tourists (55 or over) who will spend 1.5 billion euros can boost GDP by 3.7 billion euros and create 60,000 new jobs.

Additionally, parallel services including wellness tourism can boost GDP by 13.5 billion euros and 171,000 jobs; spa tourism by 2 billion euros and 25.6 thousand jobs; long-stay tourism can strengthen GDP by 1.1 billion euros and support 11,000 jobs; and medical tourism can generate a 1.5-billion-euro increase in GDP and support 20,000 new jobs.

Senior and health tourism are now an important part of the global tourism industry, said diaNEOsis analysts, underlining the need for immediate actions that will pave the way for multiple benefits.

The report cites as advantages Greece’s fair weather, natural offerings, geographical location within Europe, EU health coverage and pension policies, low cost of living, large tourism market, and specialized medical and health professionals and services.

On the downside, Greece is still lagging in accessibility infrastructure while mass transport conditions are poor particularly for the elderly. The country also has a lacking and badly organized public health care system; its spatial planning regulations make it difficult to invest in housing projects; and it has high taxation, the report said.

In order to tap into silver tourism and its wide scope of parallel products, Greece must first:

– establish a functional framework for health tourism;

– ensure the smooth cooperation between competent governmental bodies;

train hospitality staff on issues of health and safety of the elderly;

– streamline and organize its public health system;

strengthen primary health care services particularly in tourist areas and install e-health services;

– and secure the necessary resources and appropriate financial tools for the immediate implementation of relevant investments, public and private, as well as encourage public-private partnerships.

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