Prospects of Health Tourism in Greece were presented at a major two-day event organized by the ISA and KEDE in New York, 29-30 October
Award of the President of KEDE and ISA, G. Patoulis for his humanitarian and social work
G. Patoulis: A National Strategy for the promotion and development of medical tourism, which is the pillar of development, is required. The First Grade Local Government will contribute towards this direction.
The heart of Greece hit in New York, during the workshop on the "Health Tourism in Greece and it’s promising prospects" which was co-organized by the Athens Medical Association, the Central Union of Greek Municipalities and the Federation of Greek Societies of Greater New York and took place on October 29&30 at Stathakion Palace in Astoria.
Among the participants of the workshop were eminent members of the scientific and business community of Greece and the US, representatives of the Greek government and the Diaspora, representatives of companies operating in the fields of Tourism and Health, as well as Media from Greece and abroad.
The speakers stressed the need for cooperation of stakeholders towards a National Strategy for the Development of Health Tourism in our country, as it is a sector of great strategic importance and one of the main pillars of the new development plan for the restoration of the Greek economy.
According to data presented by the speakers, the worldwide turnover of the medical tourism market exceeds $ 20-30 billion on an annual basis.
Furthermore, costs related to medical services are estimated at $ 15-20 billion.
This is a cost of $ 4,000 on average for 5,000,000 patients seeking medical services in other countries
It is significant that during the last year more than 1.5 million US citizens visited other countries for health services.
The need for legislative intervention in order to create the Health Tourism Development in our country was noted by the Deputy Foreign Minister Mr. Nikos Xidakis, who stressed that Greece can provide quality services in the health sector as it has a particularly high level scientific potential and the most modern facilities.
Mr. George Patoulis, president of ISA, the KEDE and Medical Tourism Sector of the Institute of Scientific Research REAR, spoke about the National Action Plan for the Development of Health Tourism in our country.
In particular, Mr. Patoulis stressed that:
"We begin a series of actions and international contacts to promote health tourism in our country, in the context of which is the workshop of New York. It is very important that Greek government realizes this great opportunity. All ministries involved, should develop strategies to promote Greece as a global destination in order to:
• Create new jobs
• Outline the major Greek cities as City Break destinations
• Attract high-level patients tourists
• Stimulate investment in medical tourism composition as a competitive product on a global scale. "
From his part, Mr. Peter Galatoulas, president of Federation of Greek Societies of Greater New York, stressed the full support of the Greek community in the effort to develop the Health Tourism and described the workshop as the beginning of a bridge of close cooperation towards this direction.
The Health Card of Diaspora was presented by the CEO of Athens Medical Group, Mr. Vasilis Apostolopoulos, who pointed out that this is a special card called "Health in Motherland", which will be distributed free to all members of the Greek Diaspora and will provide high quality health services.
IVF as attraction to infertile couples from all around the world was the theme of the speech made by Mr Konstantinos Pantos, gynecologist, general secretary of the Greek Society for Reproductive Medicine, who presented the superiority of our country in this area. In addition, there were touching testimonials of couples who had IVF in Greece and managed to become parents.
The plastic surgeon, Mr. Zisis Boukouvalas, spoke about the remarkable momentum that has been developed in the field of plastic surgery in our country, while Dr. Konstantinos Konstantinidis, director of Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery Athens Medical Group, spoke on "Aerospace Technology and modern robotic surgery procedure, a magnet for Medical Tourism".
Mr. John Datseris, surgeon ophthalmologist, member of the ISA Board, spoke about the significant prospects of ophthalmology in our country.
Then followed the awards of Messrs G. Patoulis for his humanitarian and social work, P. Galatoulas for his contribution to Hellenism Abroad and B. Apostolopoulos, for his contribution to the Diaspora.
Among the attendees in the conference were the Consul General of Greece in New York, Mr. Costas Koutras, the representative of the Archbishop of America Mr. John Efthimiopoulos, the Financial Controller of the Region of New York, Mr. George Maragos, as well as prominent members of the Greek Diaspora and representatives of Federations and Associations, such as the President of the New York Medical Society George Liakeas and of the Attorneys Association, Peter Metis.