January 15, 2016

Health Tourism – A New and Promising Tourism Product for Cyprus


by Christos Petsides
Secretary General
Cyprus Health Services Promotion Board

Health Tourism in our days is a trend. Many countries are promoting themselves as medical tourism destinations trying to get a percentage of this promising global market.

Worldwide medical tourism is a growing industry with around 20% growth each year and with around €12 billion generated annually. More than 5 million patients around the world travel abroad for treatment every year.

Cyprus has great prospects to enter into this market and for that we have been actively developing our strategy for this niche sector since 2007 by bringing together the private health care and tourism industry in Cyprus.

Within this frames we established the Cyprus Health Services Promotion Board which in close cooperation with the Cyprus Tourism Organization, the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Ministries of Tourism and Health work hard to put Cyprus firmly in the medical tourism map.

Cyprus is a country with high standard of health care and also a popular tourist destination. These put Cyprus in a great position to cater to medical tourists.

We have the advantage of already being an established destination for holiday makers and we work hardly towards combining these two sectors and establish a strong image as a medical tourism destination.

Considering the fierce competition we must build on the key selling points of Cyprus as a medical tourism destination.

We have well-organized and state-of-the-art private hospitals and clinics fully in line with EU regulations and standards. Our winning combination of cost effective procedures and highly educated health professionals, with most of them educated in EU countries, mainly the UK and Germany and also in the US, is a major selling point. Also our strategic position between three continents – the Middle East, Africa and Europe – puts us in a convenient location for international patients seeking quality health care outside their home countries. The year-round temperate climate of Cyprus has great benefits for recuperation and rehabilitation. Cyprus also offers a safe and calm environment, where English is widely spoken, making the patients’ time here pleasant and easy to navigate.

Furthermore as an EU member state Cyprus has all the necessary regulations in place and all the doctors and clinics are licensed and supervised by the Ministry of Health. Most of the clinics and hospitals also have their own industry accreditations, but we are encouraging them to get more international accreditations to give our facilities wider recognition worldwide. This is a process that a number of our top hospitals have already started and some have completed. All our health care providers are regulated and supervised but gaining more international accreditations can only upgrade and further promote these establishments, as well as reassure potential patients from around the world about the quality and treatment in Cyprus.

Regarding opportunity for foreign investment strategic alliances and competition in Cyprus, in terms of medical tourism, the establishment of rehabilitation centers as well as holiday resorts incorporating medical facilities, are areas of great opportunity in Cyprus.

There major projects which are underway, worth more than €8 billion, that will help upgrade our product and boost the image of Cyprus as a destination for their services as well as attract more foreign investment into Cyprus.

November 2015