Greece: Health tourism potential

 

To save you rapidly looking for an atlas, Evia is the second largest island in Greece after Crete. The main gateway to the island from mainland Greece is at Halkida, only a ninety-minute drive from Athens. Though Evia is indeed an island, due to the close proximity it has with mainland Greece, as well as the connection available by   bridge and ferries, there is a sense that is part of Greece.

Evia is famous for the natural spas that are found here. In the town of Edipsos there are a huge number of natural spas and waters, and the town is generally referred to as the spa capital of the island. Spa and therapeutic holidays are very popular on the island of Evia, and there are many hotels and companies offering a great selection of health and natural spa holidays, where visitors can enjoy the healing properties of these unique waters, which have been known about since ancient times.

According to Constantine Constantinides of healthCare cybernetics, reporting back for on a recent health conference arranged by the Greek Ministry of Tourism Development on the island, at which he spoke on health tourism integration and development; “ Evia is not as well known to foreign visitors as some of the other Greek islands in the Aegean. The Ministry has set about to remedy this. The fact that the Minister is also the Member of Parliament for Evia is not going to hurt the effort. The Greek Ministry of Tourism Development is tasked with overseeing the development of special interest tourism, including health, wellness and medical tourism.
Evia has been designated as one of the nine Greek ht8 Destinations (i.e., national Destinations offering or aiming to offer services in the 8 Health Tourism Segments. The leadership of the Ministry of Tourism Development clearly indicated its support for initiatives aimed at the further development of the health tourism industry in Greece. The Minister of Tourism Development, Dr. Konstantinos Markopoulos, is a surgeon.

ht8 refers to the 8 Health Tourism Segments:
 •  Medical Tourism
 •  Dental Tourism
 •  Spa and Thalassotherapy Tourism
 •  Wellness and Fitness Tourism
 •  Sports Tourism 
•   Culinary Tourism
 •  Accessible Tourism 
•   Assisted Residential Tourism 
ht8 is a concept introduced in 2008 by healthCare cybernetics
Greece is one of the top tourism destinations in the world with 17 million visitors in 2007, but we do not know how many came for health reasons. 85% of arrivals originate in Western Europe: 21.2% from the United Kingdom, 17.5% from Germany, 8.8% from Italy, 5.3% from France, 5.2% from Holland, and 7.5% from the Scandinavian countries. Increasingly, significant numbers of visitors from Eastern Europe and China are making Greece their preferred destination, creating a wider base of origin countries and new demands for services, facilities, and attractions.

Among the targeted sectors for expansion include the development of wellness and health tourism, thermal spas and thalassotherapy centers. Greece boasts more than 700 hot springs, many of therapeutic value. The potential to develop wellness centres, spas, and integrated treatment facilities is significant. Greece’s Investment Incentives Law provides for grants of up to 60% for the establishment of, thalassotherapy centres.

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