Friday, 29 January 2021

Memorandum for Medical Tourism Promotion


Memorandum for Medical Tourism Promotion

Athens, 29 January 2021 I Enterprise Greece and the Greek Health Tourism Council (ELITOUR) signed on Thursday, January 28, 2021 a Memorandum of Cooperation to promote Greece as an attractive destination for medical tourism. 

Enterprise Greece was represented at the signing by CEO Georgios Filiopoulos. ELITOUR was represented by its Chairman George Patoulis, who is also Governor of the Region of Attica.  Chairman of Enterprise Greece and Secretary General for International Economic Αffairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ioannis Smyrlis, addressed brief welcome remarks, while the Secretary General of ELITOUR, Petros Mamalakis, also attended the ceremony. 

The cooperation between Enterprise Greece and ELITOUR is expected to significantly boost medical tourism in Greece, while also helping to support Greece’s important health and life sciences sectors. Apart from increasing direct revenue, drawing medical tourism to Greece will attract foreign investment in the health sector, improve services both for Greeks and for visitors, and stem emigration of doctors and nurses. With the signing of the MoU, ELITOUR will assume the role of liaison for networking between Greek and foreign institutions. 

Greece has several competitive advantages in this field that are expected to contribute significantly in the development of medical tourism. The country has an established health and tourism infrastructure, is easily reached from three continents, and has the most doctors per capita in the OECD. The unrivaled Greek tourism brand is already associated with health and wellness, making the country an attractive destination for medical treatment.  

The rise in medical tourism is driven by increased life expectancy, an aging population, and cuts to public health care services in developed countries. Nowadays, more than 100 countries offer medical tourism services. 

Secretary General for International Economic Αffairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Chairman of Enterprise Greece, Ioannis Smyrlis, in his greeting remarks, emphasized at the opportunities that arise following the signing of the MoU, for medical tourism, for new investment, for quality health services, that will ultimately lead to economic growth and reversion of brain drain. 

In remarks, Enterprise Greece CEO Filiopoulos, said: In the EU alone, the turnover of medical tourism is estimated at about €47 billion. Greece is well positioned to attract major investment in the health sector. With its popularity as a tourist destination and its geographical location, Greece is able to target the European market as well as visitors from North Africa and the Middle East. The country has specialized medical staff and sufficient infrastructure to support medical tourism. The attraction of foreign investment will also contribute to keeping remarkable doctors, nurses and therapists in Greece." 

ELITOUR Chairman and Regional Governor of Attica George Patoulis stated: "By signing the Memorandum of Cooperation, ELITOUR will be the National Liaison Partner in the networking between Greek and foreign organizations and enterprises wishing to pursue joint business projects in the field of medical tourism. We offer new prospects to those active in the sector, through new investment opportunities, pioneering practices and networking between Greek and foreign stakeholders. Our goal is to maximize the benefits for all and help support the growth of the Greek economy.” 

ELITOUR Secretary General Petros Mamalakis elaborated on the implementation and synergies that will follow the signing of the MoU. A Coordination Committee will be formed by the two parties to handle the project. Bilateral agreements with the Ministries of Health and Tourism between Greece and Cyprus and other Middle East countries will facilitate the cooperation and broaden the networking with foreign stakeholders. A series of webinars and educational programs are scheduled to assist foreign investors to seek potential partnerships. An estimated 27bn within five years deriving from investments in health tourism and real estate, can contribute to national GDP. The dynamics are great, let us seize the momentum. 

Following the signing of the MoU, all parties answered to a plethora of questions by journalists, at a virtual press conference moderated by Mr. Yiannis Politis.


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