March 24, 2023

Event on Greek Health Tourism by the LSE Alumni Association in Greece

Mr. George Patoulis: “The great challenge for Greece is to turn into a product the Greek advantage of authenticity of Health and Welfare”

The LSE Alumni Association organized an event on the “Prospects of Medical Tourism in Greece”, with the participation of distinguished and young entrepreneurs operating in Greece. Keynote speakers at the event were the Governor of Attica, President of the Greek  Health Tourism Council Elitour and President of the Athens Medical Association Mr. George Patoulis, the General Secretary of the Greek National Tourism Organization Mr. Dimitris Fragakis and the CEO of the Athens Medical Group, Vassilis Apostolopoulos, an LSE graduate.

The President of Elitour, the Governor of Attica, Mr. George Patoulis, presented the data for the expected international explosion after the pandemic of Health Tourism, Wellness Tourism and Medical Tourism, which predict a compound annual growth rate of 12, 5% from 2023 to 2030 in the Global Wellness Tourism market, up from $814.6 billion in 2022, and for Medical Tourism an annual growth rate of 11.59% from 2023 to 2032, up from $115.6 billion, in 2022. Mr. George Patoulis said that Greece is now claiming as a country, visibly and with impact, the transition from Opportunity to Success, in the development of the sector, based on targeted actions and strategy of the Greek Health Tourism Council, which has intensified its initiatives at the national level over the last three years.  As far as Medical Tourism is concerned, the primary drivers of global market expansion are accessibility and affordability of high-quality healthcare services, as well as support from local governments and tourism offices, Mr. George Patoulis noted that the relevant Bill is awaiting with interest, prepared by Tourism Minister Vassilis Kikilias. “The implementation of supportive government policies, that encourage the expansion of medical infrastructure and the easier access for international Health Travellers, is expected to further fuel the industry”, the President of Elitour stressed and welcomed at this point the initiative of the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Miltiades Varvitsiotis on the Medical Health Visa .

Then Mr. George Patoulis presented the initiatives and the development of the policy, of the Hellenic Health Tourism Council ELITOUR, for the international recognition that has Greece about the combination of high quality medical and wellness services, in ideal synergy with high quality tourism services. He spoke about the Memorandum of Cooperation that Elitour has signed with the Greek Chamber of Hotels, the Athens International Airport, as well as with Enterprise Greece, as National Intermediary Partner, for the networking of Greek and foreign entities, who wish to join together, in joint business actions.

“During the last global conference organized by Elitour, the world’s leading experts accepted our suggestion, to link the term “Authenticity” of Wellness and Well-being with the Destination Greece in the global map of Health and Wellness.  The great challenge for Greece, I firmly believe, is to make the Greek advantage of authenticity of Wellness and Health a product”, said the Attica Regional Governor closing his speech.

The General Secretary of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO) Mr. Dimitris Fragakis said:  “Greece has all the prerequisites to play a leading role, in health tourism and will soon have a modern and functional institutional framework. The private health sector has already made significant steps in this area. The potential for the development of tourism sector is inexhaustible and can only bring benefits, to the national economy and local communities.”

For his part, the CEO of the Athens Medical Group, Mr Vassilis Apostolopoulos said “Medical Tourism is a huge development challenge for our country. As a country, we have medical technology and cutting-edge medical potential. What is needed is national planning and commitment of the providers, as this is a long-term goal. Certainly the 24% VAT takes away much of the competitive advantage, we have as a country.”

This was followed by a discussion with warm interest from LSE alumni in Greece.  

The conference was moderated by journalist Korina Georgiou, also an LSE graduate.