Health tourism potential for Greece’s capital city

Athens has potential to emerge as a top health and wellness tourism destination in the post- Covid-19 era thanks to its unique climate, modern infrastructure, and increasingly successful interconnection between health and tourism services, according to recent claims by the Athens Development & Destinations Management Agency (ADDMA).

ADDMA is working with the Asklepieia Health Cluster, a cooperative network that focuses on health and wellness tourism. Both believe that there is a significant opportunity for Greece and Athens in particular. They believe the city has the potential to become a top health and wellness destination, attract special interest tourists and increase average spending per person.

Prior to the pandemic, Athens received 6.5 million visitors on an annual basis. According to Asklepieia Health Cluster the city could tap into the benefits of year-round tourism by developing wellness packages inside and outside its hotels.

According to a recent survey, the preferences of global travellers are constantly evolving and today focus on nature activities, sports, spa, beauty and detox services. Wellness has evolved to include mental and psychological health issues related to happiness, self-knowledge, healthy relationships and more. Tourism and health experts agree that this broader sense of wellness is starting to play an important role in the destination choices of travellers, while it contributes to a more integrated positive holiday experience.

ADDMA believes that the interconnection of medical and hospitality services is key for the development of health and wellness tourism in Greece.

While wellness is a sector well connected with the Greek hospitality industry through partnerships and the operation of in-house state-of-the-art spa centres, there are only a handful of healthcare providers in Greece that offer medical treatments combined with hospitality services. These providers are active in fast-growing medical sectors such as dentistry, dermatology and cosmetic surgery.

Dentistry become part of the country’s health and wellness industry, with more tourists choosing Greece for treatments or cosmetic dentistry surgeries. Dental clinics in Greece have established partnerships with hotels to offer the option to patients to spend a holiday in Greek destinations.

Dermatology has also started to combine medical treatments with hospitality and wellness services in Greece. Hotel spas could incorporate dermatology cosmetic surgery services to their treatments however a legislative framework is required in order for dermatology certified professionals to be able to offer their services inside hotels.

Cosmetic surgery, a fast-growing sector in Greece, is attracting more health tourists every year due to the advanced services offered and the numerous recovery options available in Greek destinations. The ADDMA believes the interconnection of cosmetic surgery clinics and hotels is feasible through the operation of medical units inside hotels or through the hotels’ collaboration with specialised clinics.