Greece Preparing Bill for New Health Tourism Products & Medical Visa
Actions needed to develop health tourism and establish Greece as a global leader topped the agenda of the 1st Health Travel Conference held in Athens earlier this month.
Organized by the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM) with the support of the health and tourism ministries, the Attica Region, Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH) and diaNEOsis, the conference focused on the formulation of a road map that will facilitate and accelerate the development of health and wellness tourism products in Greece.
Greece secures €1bn for development of health tourism product
Health experts speaking at the conference said that more than 1 billion euros in national resilience and EU funding had already been secured for the development of such products which will also include the launch of a medical visa.
Additionally, 750 million euros will be channeled into promotional actions, equipment and digitalization of current infrastructure. Greece’s development law also foresees the creation of rehabilitation centers, and as part of alternative tourism offerings, funding will also be allocated to spa tourism and treatment centers. An additional 200 million euros will go toward the creation of 15 new centers and the upgrade of 15 existing spa facilities.
New health tourism bill on its way
Addressing the conference, Yannis Tountas, medical doctor, professor of social and preventive medicine at the University of Athens, president of the conference and ISPM director, referred to potential Greece has to become a top health tourism destination.
In this direction, he said, the ministries of health, tourism and development were preparing a new bill in collaboration with the Attica Region that paves the way for the operation of health ministry-certified clinics that will provide specialized services at large tourist resorts.
The bill also foresees the creation of a medical visa as well as a series of incentives for local and regional governments that will include silver tourism products run by local DMOs.
Speaking during the event, HCH President Alexandros Vassilikos underlined the need for a road map that will set out the conditions and goals for the development of the health tourism segment, which will bring together highly qualified medical professionals with top notch hotel infrastructure and services.
On his part, Attica Regional Governor and Greek Health Tourism Council Elitour President George Patoulis referred to the agreements signed with Athens International Airport (AIA) and the HCH which include among others joint actions towards the creation of travel packages offering health, spa and wellness tourism options as well as collaborations with foreign investors.
Fabulous idea…. what about transparency of medical costs which are laughable!?