Greece develops medical travel sector

In recent years, stakeholders in Greece have launched concerted efforts for the country to emerge as a medical tourism destination given the high level of services provided in both tourism and health. But much more has to be done.

Medical tourism has the potential to provide economic opportunities and its development is now one of the immediate priorities of the Greek Tourism Ministry for 2022-23.

The tourism ministry has said it will cooperate with all agencies including the World Health Organisation (WHO) to promote necessary legislative regulations, so that the country can tap in more effectively to health and wellness tourism.

The ministry already works with the Greek Health Tourism Council (Elitour) and plans to make better use of Greece’s many thermal springs via use of recovery fund money to develop wellness tourism in collaboration with the municipalities.

Elitour has said it plans to create a health, wellness and Greek hospitality village in Athens, to create better living conditions, improve mental health and wellbeing.

Another development area under consideration is hair transplantation. Athens based Seneca Medical Group, which operates hair transplant clinics across Europe is active in the United Kingdom and Greece. The company offers medically advanced hair loss treatments, using a personalised system of diagnosis and 45% of the people that visit the Seneca clinic in Athens for hair loss restoration are from abroad.

There is general agreement that Greece needs to upgrade the country’s tourism infrastructure and health services, so that medical services can be licensed within tourism facilities.

Commenting on the ministry plans, Seneca’s CEO has said it is necessary for the government to create a certification scheme for medical tourism in Greece, and provide subsidies to boost the sector in the country.

Elitour has teamed up with the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels with plans to create travel packages offering health, spa and wellness tourism options. Elitour will work with Greek hotels to get certification for hotels providing specialised wellness services.