Medical tourism has great potential


Greece needs to tap the huge market of medical tourism that neighboring countries are already greatly benefiting from, the secretary-general of the Greek Medical Tourism Council, Paris Kokorotsikos, told the 2nd Tourism Conference, titled “High Added Value Tourism” and co-organized by five bilateral chambers, which took place in Thessaloniki on Monday.

Medical tourism in Europe, with 2.6 million tourists a year, accounts for a quarter of the global medical tourism market, with Turkey and Croatia being the main two emerging destinations, while Germany and the UK are the top preferences for serious health issues. Greece remains a laggard in promoting medical tourism, while Turkey has 657,000 health visitors per annum, Kokorotsikos said.

Greece’s advantages include the high level of private health services, internationally acclaimed doctors and scientists, use of ultramodern technological equipment in healthcare and competitive prices.

On the other hand its weak points are low state support, poor networking with international medical tourism brokers and facilitators, the lack of organized promotion of the country as a medical tourism destination, and the absence of cooperation between tourism and transport businesses and healthcare corporations, Kokorotsikos noted.