Medical travel news from the Balkan states: Albania, Romania

 

Romania is often seen as a place other Europeans travel to for low cost dental and cosmetic surgery. A new study reveals that Romanians also travel overseas for treatment. The reasons that Romanians choose medical treatment abroad are wide and varied: greater confidence in the professionalism of doctors abroad, the benefits of modern technology that may not be available at home, costs equal to or sometimes even less than locally, and the lack of appropriate treatment in Romania.

In the first four months of 2009, 8500 Romanians received medical treatment in clinics in Hungary, Austria, Germany and Israel. The most sought-after medical services are cosmetic surgery, childbirth and stem cell transplants. In  2009 680 Romanians were treated abroad with the treatment costs paid for by the National Insurance scheme. To qualify for this money, they have to prove that the treatment they require is not available in Romania in a timely manner. The targeted replacement medical institution is preferably within the European area. Most requests come from patients suffering from advanced cancers, and hematological and cardiovascular diseases. Romanian doctors are increasingly familiar with the concept of medical tourism and guide their patients to hospitals that specialize in the needed treatment.
 
A recent study shows that, among the Romanians seeking medical treatment abroad, 88% say they should choose this option only if they could not have access to it in Romania, and 83% would go abroad to receive better treatment than at home. 61% of those who choose medical tourism, choose patient care in a foreign hospital, and 57% to receive treatment in a shorter time than at home. Half say they would go abroad to have access to less costly treatment. According to the study, distance from home is the main reason why 66% would not choose medical treatment abroad. 42% say they would not go abroad for care because they are satisfied with treatment options in their country. 39% would not go abroad, because they do not know foreign languages and 67% because they cannot afford it financially. However, there are situations where some therapies and interventions that are prescribed in Romanian treatment schemes, for some reason cannot be achieved within the country.

Spa and wellness products from Romania could soon be included in travel agency TUI Vital’s offerings for both Germany and Scandinavia, says the Ministry for Regional Development and Tourism (MDRT). MDRT representatives and those of the German concern TUI had talks about collaboration between the two parties on the occasion of launching Romania’s tourist brand in the German market in Munich.

Albania's tourism is a major factor in helping to turn the country into a modern European country. Captains of the tourist industry in Albania have created criteria for all business within this industry to work towards.  These criteria are to be known as The Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC) and are a set of 37 voluntary standards to help local businesses increase their revenue and success. The Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria and Authentic Albania Quality Mark will be launched in the next few months and will initially target accommodation businesses.  Hotels and accommodation will be evaluated based on the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria and then be awarded a gold, silver, or bronze classification that will be published on travel sites and in brochures and publications for foreign tourists.

Ravin Maharajah, Albanian resort developer, says" This set of criteria offers simple and useful advice to small businesses to help them up their game plan. At Lalzit Bay Resort & Spa we are very keen for all companies within the tourism and related sectors to make a success of their businesses. Our development is situated in 20 hectares of frontline land with 300 meters of private beach. The resort will benefit from a beach club, sports and tennis club and a wellness centre."

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