ATHENS – Leading figures related to the promising field of medical tourism were honored and offered their perspectives at the awards dinner of the Med Professionals-Medical Communications Group’s “Symposium on Medical Tourism” in Athens on November 5 in the presence of members of the current government and the official opposition New Democracy Party, including its VP Adonis Georgiades.
The ballroom of the Elektra Palace hotel was packed with officials from Greece’s top medical firms, hotels, insurers, tour operators and chambers of commerce, a testament to the appreciation for the great opportunities but also the challenges the potential for medical tourism hold for Greece.
Guests paid rapped attention to all presenters at the event where journalist Tania Iakovidou was the MC and Eleni Hovri, the president of Med Professionals, was the host.
Georgiades summed up many speakers by praising the key people in Greece’s current tourism miracle, from past Minister of Tourism Olga Kefalogianni of New Democracy to the coalition’s current minister Elena Kountoura, but he emphasized that Greece must build a completely new brand for medical tourism and that “it will not emerge automatically. It must be built, and with a focus on quality…and working together in an organized fashion.”
Other speakers noted that despite the tremendous competition, Greece’s comparative advantage in tourism appeal and excellent medical personnel and institutions will tell. “By focusing on quality, patients and investors will come,” Georgiades said.
Hovri praised Dr. George Patoulis, President of the Medical Society of Athens, as one of the indefatigable pioneers in the sector. He is President of the Greek Medical Tourism Council.
Konstantinos Tzortzis, CEO of Elxis Spa and Elxis Medical, companies whose energies he is working to blend for medical tourism, noted that the legal infrastructure needs improvement and must be addressed by officials, but while others offered a go slow approach he insisted the sector is near takeoff.
Honoree Paul Kotrotsios of Philadelphia, founder of the Hermes Expo trade show, conveyed the desire of the diaspora to help foster cooperation and attract investors to the fledgling sector, and Dr. Vassilis Apostolopoulos, CEO of the Athens Medical Group, explicitly called for cooperation among his rivals to build the national brand.