January 26, 2023

Global Wellness Economy Forum “From Opportunity to Successful Development – The Greek Case”

Greece meets all the requirements to be classified as a Wellness country, as international observers and experts agree on this, evaluating the progress of the initiatives taken for the country by the Hellenic Health Tourism Council, ELITOUR. The reasons and factors why, despite this, Greece has not yet received the identity of a “Wellness Country” were discussed by the leading international experts and global opinion leaders in the field of Health and Wellness Tourism, invited by ELITOUR at the 1st Hybrid Global Wellness Economy Forum “From Opportunity to Successful Development – The Greek Case” .

The President of ELITOUR, Governor of Attica and President of the Athens Medical Association, Mr. George Patoulis, stressed that the promotion of Greece as a Wellness and Health Destination should and deserves to be worthy of the country’s top popularity among the global tourist public; Mr. Patoulis raised to the international participants, speakers and opinion leaders the question why Greece has not yet been included in the Global Wellness and Health Tourism Maps. He referred to ELITOUR’s initiatives for extroversion and the synergies that have been launched in cooperation with Athens International Airport and the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, for promoting and raising awareness of the country’s packages, services and Health Tourism destinations in Greece to the global audience. The President of ELITOUR made a special reference to the thermal wealth of Greece, the 850 thermal springs located throughout the country, as a particular comparative advantage of Greece, given that hot springs and ancient spa towns are a strong incentive nowadays to attract international travelers to Wellness destinations. Mr Patoulis emphasized the synergy of ELITOUR with Enterprise Greece, as a National Intermediary Partner for the networking of Greek and foreign entities wishing to engage in joint business actions for the development of hospitality structures offering Health and Wellness services.

“Greece was the first place on earth where Wellness was scientifically described since antiquity, as the best possible physical state of Mind & Body that man can acquire and maintain, according to Hippocrates. So today, on behalf of Greece, we claim the identity of the “authenticity” of the Wellbeing experience. The first Health Tourism Destinations of the West, the first spas of the world, were the thermal springs of ancient Greece, the Asklepiia, where Holistic Medicine for the treatment of Soul, Mind and Body was applied and taught. Nowadays these are main approaches of the modern science of Wellness”, the President of ELITOUR pointed out in his speech.  

The international speakers agreed on the promotion of the “authenticity” of Wellness, being a long tradition in Greece, a tag which can be combined with the Mediterranean diet and the historical wealth of the country which gave birth to Medical Science, as an extroversion strategy to attract Wellness travelers. Susie Ellis, Co-Founder, Chair & CEO, Global Wellness Institute and Global Wellness Summit agreed with the President of ELITOUR Mr. Patoulis on the identity of the “authenticity” of Wellness, on which the promotion of Greek Wellness Tourism can build on . She proposed that Greece should be included in the Global Geography of Wellness. “The concepts of Euphoria, Eudaimonia, Holistic Therapy, used, as such in Greek, in the Global Dictionary of Wellness,” said Ms. Ellis, “-as well as Hippocrates, and the ancient spa towns-, are keys to attracting the global Health and Wellness travelers.”   

“In Greece, which is the land of Well Being, the medical world was the first to realize the enormous potential that the Health sector in Greece carries in its DNA.  And here, Mr Patoulis, and many of you, deserve special congratulations. In this effort, which is currently being carried out, the Greek Tourism Organization is, and will continue to, function as a strong communication channel for the promotion οf Greece’s Health and Wellness Τourism  to international markets”, said the President of the GNTO, Ms Angela Gerekou in her remarks.

The event was held in cooperation between ELITOUR and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development under the auspices of Enterprise Greece, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Health and the Region of Attica and highlighted the investment opportunities in Greece, with the participation of distinguished speakers from the investment world. The keynote speaker was Ms Andreea Moraru, Regional Director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.


Among the world renowned speakers were Keith Pollard Editor- in- Chief of the International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ) and consultant to LaingBuisson, Laszlo Puczkó Hospitality, Entertainment and Leisure Strategist, Health, Medical, Wellness, Spa Inspiruptor, Advisor and Mentor, Anna Bjurstam Strategic Advisor-Wellness Pioneer, Six Senses and Raison d’Etre, Advisory Board Member, Global Wellness Summit, Prem Jagyasi, Times Awarded Speaker, Chartered Consultant and Expert in Medical Tourism, Wellness Resorts and Global Healthcare.

On the Greek side, SETE’s General Manager Maria Gatsou also participated as a speaker, Marinos Giannopoulos, CEO of Enterprise Greece, as a speaker, and, as a moderator, the internationally renowned Nikos Kouremenos, Wellness Consultant at Raison d’Etre Global Spa Consultancy.

On the side of ELITOUR, speakers were Konstantinos Pantos, Founder and Scientific Director, Genesis Athens Clinic, Vice President, International Center for Health Tourism and the Global Doctors’ Hippocratic Institute, Vice President Α’, Elitour, General Secretary, Hellenic Society of Reproductive Medicine, and Konstantinos Kouskoukis, Professor of Dermatology, Lawyer, President, Hippocratic Academy of Thermal Medicine, President, World Academy of Chinese and Complimentary Medicine.

The Organizing Committee was composed of  Mr. George Kakoulidis, Head of the ELITOUR Financing Committee, CEO Asklepieia, Mr. Petros Mamalakis, Secretary General of ELITOUR, CEO of Health Tourism Greece, Ms. Vaki Paka, Head of the ELITOUR Extroversion Committee, CEO ARAXIA SA, while the coordination of the 3rd period and the closing of the Forum processes was undertaken by Christina Tampourea, Group Chief Commercial Officer, Iaso Group, Vice President B, Elitour.