Increase in investment in medical tourism alla and a significant attraction of visitors from abroad who will seek medical solutions to problems that concern them in Greece, the competent bodies see in in the next 5 years.

Health and wellness tourism it is now clear that it can be an important pillar of economic development in many regions of the country, the regional governor of Attica, president of ISA and ELITOUR, emphasizes to APE-MPE George Patoulis on the occasion of an international conference on the subject held in Crete. “Water has entered the groove and medical tourism now creates greater possibilities and opportunities, as a result of which we see more participation in this venture. The base is the very good medical staff and the structures that are constantly improving,” he said speaking to APE-MPE.

In the next five years, the results of this effort will be tangible and we will rise internationally, estimated G. Patoulis, adding that “We will rise from the 5th place we are now in assisted reproduction, we will also rise in other fields, such as ophthalmology, plastic and robotic surgery. When we started this effort we were going abroad to be operated on and now patients are coming here from abroad to be operated on.” But he also made special mention of wellness tourism, which mainly concerns people after middle age who are willing to spend quality time and money to improve their overall quality of life through proper nutrition, exercise, and wellness activities in an attractive environment like this of Greece. “It is addressed to the healthy citizens of the world who, after the pandemic, have seen their way of life differently. They want to gain years and live well in organized well-being centers which we are already planning in Attica”, concluded Mr. Patoulis.

Medical tourism and wellness tourism it is an overall experience that we offer to the visitor and we are all involved in it in some way, the Minister of Rural Development and Food pointed out while speaking to APE – MPE Lefteris Avgenakis. “The building infrastructure is nice, but you also need a quality breakfast, which results from the cooperation with the people in the primary sector. They are people who are looking for good quality and the right production but also the right markets” he said and added that “It goes without saying that we will have cooperation as the Ministry of Rural Development with all the co-competent bodies for Medical tourism and wellness tourism. The team wins and not one player alone” to remember my previous portfolio in sports, concluded Mr. Avgenakis.

For his part, the new Deputy Minister of Development Marios Senetakis, pointed out that medical tourism has great investment interest, combined with the expansion of the tourist season. “We at the Ministry of Development are interested in helping either through research or through start-up entrepreneurship in the development of this new form of tourism,” he said speaking to APE-MPE.

The prospects of medical tourism in Crete, and in particular the possibilities for the development of assisted reproduction tourism in the country, have been discussed by experts since the morning at the international conference Health Tourism 2023, which is being held in Heraklion, Crete.

As the chairman of the conference’s organizing committee said, Antonis Polydorou, general secretary of the World Hippocratic Institute of Physicians, the country’s first group of 34 doctors dealing with assisted reproduction has already been created, with the aim of certifying their services abroad, and making their presence more felt there, to act as a pole attraction for tourists who will come to Greece to proceed with assisted reproduction. In fact, he added that although the infrastructure for this medical tourism exists in the country, it should be supplemented with new investments that seem to have great prospects in the coming years.

On the occasion of the inauguration of the assisted reproduction unit in Heraklion, the CEO of the Greek Society of Reproductive Medicine and vice president of Elitour, Kostantinos Pantos, said at the conference that the aim is “to attract couples facing reproductive problems in their country, which are related to egg donation, surrogate mother, the woman’s age and to offer them high-level services. The state must take measures and give incentives to those who travel to our country for medical tourism, for example by reducing the VAT on their air tickets and giving them other facilities, thus earning the state from all their other activities, accommodation, the catering and medical services offered to them”.

It is estimated, as the speakers said, that health and wellness tourists spend at least 60% more money than the average tourist.

At least 5,000 people every year they come to Greece for assisted reproduction, a number that in the context of medical tourism may double or even triple in the next few years as estimated by the president of the National Authority for Assisted Reproduction Nikos Vrachnis. A strong advantage of Greece is the new law that was passed on the basis of which significant changes were made to help couples to have a child. As he said, “The changes made to the age limits enable women from Greece or abroad to have children up to the age of 54. The parents or the parent of the child can, if they wish, know the details of the donor of genetic material at the time of fertilization, provided that he has given his consent. The donor also has the option of giving his details to the child when he turns 18. Also, the changes concerning the social cryopreservation of eggs help many women to cryopreserve their genetic material which we would advise to be done until the woman’s 35 years. However, he hinted that there is a recommendation from the National Authority to limit the number of fertilized eggs per cycle so that there is no surplus of fertilized genetic material.

For his part, Mr. Pantos pointed out that “We have various changes in society, we have new forms of family and all those who have the desire but also the right in Greece to have a child should be helped in whatever way science can offer them” .