George Patoulis: “Attica is already characterized as a Top Sustainable Destination and Healthy Region to welcome the World’s Health Tourists”
The role that healthy cities and healthy Regions play in the implementation and development of Health and Wellness Tourism, highlighted in a special thematic section of ELITOUR the 18th Annual Panhellenic Conference of the Hellenic Network of Healthy Cities of the World Health Organization, EDDYPPY entitled “Local Government close to the people for Unified Health & a better planet”, which was held in Voula under the auspices and coordination of the Region of Attica.
The event was attended by distinguished personalities of Greek doctors who are leading efforts in their field of extroversion for Greek Health Tourism, and highlighted Greece’s points of excellence for attracting Health and Wellness Tourists, while highlighting the importance of the role of Local Government and the State in this direction.
“Coming out of the pan-human health challenge, and at the same time, in response to the Climate Crisis, the United Nations World Tourism Organization, UNWTO, sets the objectives for the promotion of the sustainable tourism development, which it is trying to implement through the Healthy City Programme. We do believe in this combination considering that this is the appropriate way to strengthen the scientific excellence of Greek doctors, ideally for Health Tourism. The scientific excellence of Greek Doctors against the background of the natural wealth of our country attracts millions of enthusiastic tourists. The world’s Health Tourists will soon choose Greece consciously for Health and Wellness services”, noted the Regional Governor of Attica, President of the Greek Health Tourism Council – ELITOUR, President of EDYPPY and President of the Athens Medical Association Mr. George Patoulis. The Regional Governor of Attica added at this point that Attica is being transformed, apart from being a “must” destination, into a sustainable destination, as well as a Healthy Place, as it joined Regions in Europe network, for Health of the World Health Organization, as an essential contribution of the project and actions of EDDYPPY. At the same time, Attica has been named a top Sustainable Tourism Destination in Europe for 2022, by the internationally renowned tourism institution of the World Travel Awards.
The CEO of Nephroxenia SA, Pantelis Katsifarakis, spoke at the conference about the challenges of Dialysis Tourism, stressing that Greek dialysis services, both in the public and private sector, are of a very high standard, as well as the infrastructure, compared to other countries. An element that makes Greece very competitive in attracting dialysis tourists, but also European patients suffering from Chronic Kidney Disease and Total Kidney Failure, who will be able to relocate to our country. Greece, as he said, has the comparative advantage of becoming the Florida of Europe.
Dr Konstantinos Pantos, Gynaecologist, specialist in Assisted Reproduction and IVF, two sectors that are currently the flagship of Greek Health Tourism, stressed that Greek science can be our country’s greatest ambassador abroad, acting as a growth level of the driver of the Greek economy. He highlighted the value of the swearing in of foreign doctors to the Hippocratic Oath, as well as the utilization of the Greek community to attract Health Tourists to the motherland, initiatives that were launched under the coordination of President Patoulis.
Invasive Dermatology specialist Christoforos Tzermias, CEO of IQ Skin Clinics, referred to Cosmetic Dermatology and Surgery as a rapidly growing sector of Health and Wellness Tourism. He also underlined the potential of the promising sector of hair transplantation and hair implantation for Health tourists, which is constantly gaining a larger tourist audience in Turkey and Poland, provides for a stay of 5-7 days and is a major challenge for growth in Greece.
The dentist Mr. Nikolaos Kouvelas, CEO of Eurodentica, referred to clear conditions for the service of demanding dental tourists: ensuring the quality of dental provided services with international certification, the travel security requirement of medical travel shield and the value of after sales service for the comprehensive treatment and quality treatment. The Health Tourist, he said, deserves to return with an envious “smile” to his home country, the best advertisement for Greek Dental Tourism, and Health Tourism.
The treatment of myopia with the ASLA method of Refractive Surgery was highlighted as a popular choice for Health Tourists by ophthalmologist Ioannis Datseris, CEO of OMMA, and pointed out that it is a one day clinic treatment without pain and no post-operative risk. Mr. Datseris proposed the highlighting of the advanced surgery, for getting rid of presbyopia for the silver tourist audience of 55+ and added that in 6 centers already applying this method in Greece, promised spectacular success in attracting tourists.
General Surgeon, Gregory Kyriakou, Founder of Gamma Air Medical, talked about the challenge in the air transport of patients with high scientific competence and equipment, and the development of the sector, which completes the chain of health tourist arrivals in a country like Greece, which aspires to conquer the international medical tourism community.
The Head of ELITOUR Financial Committee, and CEO of Apollo, George Kakoulidis presented the Investment opportunities in Health and Wellness Tourism sector in Greece, the market and the image, and he also referred to the funding sources and the proposals to strengthen entrepreneurship.