A recent workshop dedicated to featuring investment opportunities, “The development of thermal springs in Greece” presented somewhat atypical opportunities to potential investors gathered in Athens. Organised by Enterprise Greece, the mini-summit took place at the conference room of the Acropolis museum, and was attended by private and public-sector stakeholders interested or already vested in “operating in the thermal springs sector.”
Tourism Minister, Elena Kountoura was present, and told interested parties of the over 350 investments in Greece, and of the 110 thermal spas having been or in the process of being licensed. The minister also pointed out that “Greece is the most ideal destination for medical tourism in Europe.” A logical strategic and value choice, Greece has historically attracted health conscious travelers for centuries. Ms. Kountoura pointed to medical tourism as a perfect vehicle for new investments, and said that “..there is already a strong legislative framework for investment in the sector.” Also present at the meetup was the German Ambassador to Greece, Jens Plotner who also participated in the conference, and spoke of how much Greece has achieved tourism wise, without forgetting to mention the preference of his compatriots to the country.
This Hospitality New report by Argo’s Editor-in-Chief, Phil Butler reveals more of the potential and initiatives already underway by decision makers like Athens Medical Association President, George Patoulis. And this report by us back in January told of the Hellenic Association of Municipalities with Thermal Springs forecasting an upswing in Greece spa and wellness tourism once regulatory goals Minister Kountoura alluded to are met.
Meanwhile, NGOs like ELITOUR, the Greek Medical Tourism Council are aiming to fill some of the gaps for promoting health tourism locally and internationally. Visiting the reports from this organization we find a plethora of positive reasons Greece should thrive as a growing health tourism destination. Not many people internationally realize that Greece is an innovation hub for cutting edge medical technologies from cardiology to cosmetic surgery, dentistry, fertility, radiology, and the spectrum of specialties. Within this matrix of possibility, Greece’s thermal spas can and should play a vital role in the overall patient therapy solutions.
The overall growth potential for health tourism is immense. According to a recent survey by the European Commission among EU citizens, nearly half of the respondents of the poll said they plan on receiving medical treatment outside their home countries. Radiant Insights declared, the global medical tourism market is projected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 12.55% from 2017 to 2021, and Greece should figure in significantly if the several hurdles can be crossed soon.