The Greek Tourism Ministry announced this week that it was designing in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO) a new legal framework that would set out the conditions for the development of health and wellness tourism.
“A framework that aims to cover all aspects of medical tourism and wellness tourism for those who visit our country,” said Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias during the inauguration of WHO’s new branch in Athens on Monday.
The new Athens WHO sub-office will focus on quality of care and patient safety ensuring the highest level of well-being, health and health protection in the WHO European Region.
Kikilias said WHO’s decision to open a branch in Athens is an acknowledgement of Greece’s efforts to manage the Covid-19 health crisis.
He went on to note that it was a very important day and “recognition of everything we have achieved in the last two years; everything we have managed to overcome in our fight against Covid-19″.
Developing health, wellness and senior tourism are among the ministry’s key priorities. The Greek economy and local communities stand to gain significantly from products related to these forms of tourism, a recent paper released by research and policy institute diaNEOsis found.
Indicatively, attracting an additional 1 million senior tourists (55 or over) who will spend approximately 1.5 billion euros can boost GDP by 3.7 billion euros and create 60,000 new jobs.
According to Greek Health Tourism Council (Elitour) President and Attica Governor George Patoulis, tapping into health tourism could be the key for the Greek tourism sector’s post-Covid recovery. Citing the same data, Patoulis said senior tourism, long-term rentals, medical and spa tourism, could add a total of 13.6 billion euros to Greece’s GDP and create 173,000 new jobs over a five-year period.