ATHENS(ANA) – Medical tourism in Greece has significant prospects for further development, Athens Medical Group’s CEO, Dr. Vassilis Apostolopoulos, said in an interview with the Athens Macedonian News Agency (ANA).
“Greece has multiple competitive advantages, which, if properly promoted to the international public, will support the development of medical tourism,” Apostolopoulos underlined.
“Greek physicians are highly qualified, with European and international studies at distinguished foreign universities as well as with significant international experience. There are Greek healthcare providers with building and hospital facilities as well as with biomedical equipment that have nothing to envy from similar providers of well-known medical tourism destinations. At the same time, the quality of Greek providers is indisputable based on international certifications. Greece has a very strong brand name in the field of tourism, while at the same time we should not forget that it remains a very safe European destination, something that it is internationally appreciated,” Apostolopoulos stated.
Apostolopoulos stressed that the extroversion of the Athens Medical Group, both by direct investments abroad – especially in Romania – and by investing and intensifying its efforts in the field of medical tourism, was the key pillar of the group’s strategy during the crisis. “In 2012 when the state set the foundations for the development of medical tourism in Greece, we actively participated in this effort,” he noted.
It is estimated that in the coming years, 3-4 pct of the world’s population will seek medical care abroad. From this enormous percentage, our country must benefit if it wants to upgrade its image and reverse the negative trend. Despite any external difficulties, the Athens Medical Group is content with the increasing flow of foreign patients requesting its services, he said adding that “we seek to significantly boost the sector in the coming years.”
Medical tourism is a national effort and, although in this field we are pioneers, we stress the importance of creating a national brand, which today does not exist. This requests the cooperation of the state, the local government and the creation of synergies that can promote the country’s infrastructure.
There are a lot of difficulties, he noted, such as the inflexibility of the state and the 24 pct VAT compared to zero VAT in competitive countries. “It is also important to understand that actions in this sector are of long-lasting success and performance, and unfortunately in Greece most of the people look for results in the short-term,” he stressed.