International Health Tourism Figures Honored in Ithaca, the Island of Odysseus




August 8, 2019

Prominent Greeks from the homeland and abroad were awarded on the island of Ithaca for their contribution to the national effort for the development and promotion of Greek Health Tourism. Photo: Courtesy of the International Health Tourism Center

ATHENS – Prominent Greeks from the homeland and abroad, from fields including politics and science, who have contributed to the national effort for the development and promotion of Greek Health Tourism, were awarded in Ithaca the Ionian island by Mayor Dionysis Stanitsas at an event titled Health Tourism Finds Its Ithaca. The 1st International Conference on Greek Health Tourism was held two years ago on the island of Odysseus.

Dr. George Patoulis, the President of the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece and Regional Governor of Attica, President of the National Health Tourism Council Elitour, President of the International Health Tourism Center and President of Athens Medical Association, spoke at the event.

He said, “Greece and Ithaca are the destinations where you promise to come back, due to the idyllic landscape and the excellent climate. Nostos, Odysseus’ nostos for his island, is the same nostos that we share with our expatriates abroad. This feeling, known today as nostalgia, is what makes international travelers who visit Greece constantly dream of the day they would repeat their journey to our country. In the national effort for the Development of Greek Health Tourism it is our aim to attract international health travelers as repeaters, which would contribute to establishing Greece as a popular Health Tourism destination globally.”

Dr. Patoulis noted that the distinguished Greek doctors and scientists who open the window of Greek Medical Tourism to the world, contribute to the national effort first with their credibility, which is crucial for building the country’s popularity as a Medical Travel destination and placing Greece in the World Health Travel Index.

He pledged that “Ithaca will retain its symbolism for Greek Health Tourism, and with our support will soon become an attractive destination for Health Travelers.”

Patoulis explained that the slogan “Health Tourism Finds Its Ithaca” refers to the burgeoning international wave of Health Tourism, and conveys the message that Health Tourism is returning to Greece, where the famous Asclepeions of antiquity with the first spas of the world, the thermal springs that can be found in various places in Greece today, were the first Health Tourism destinations on earth for foreign travelers.

At the event, the Mayor of Ithaca presented awards for the guests’ contribution to the promotion and development of Health Tourism, including the Chicago community leader Kostas Haniotakis, the President of the Greek Community of Melbourne Bill Papastergiadis, Professor of Reproductive Science at University College London in the Institute for Women’s Health Joyce Harper, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and member of the Hellenic and International Psychoanalytic Society Dimitris Jackson, the President of the Hellenic Assisted Reproduction Authority, Professor of Obstetrics – Gynecology and Infertility at the National and Kapodistrian University Sofia Kalandaridou, as well as Dr. Patoulis, and the Vice President of the International Health Tourism Center, IVF Specialist Dr. Constantinos Pantos.

Journalist Dimitris Filippidis, based in New York, was also awarded, as was the Founder and Managing Director of Albania American Hospital in Albania Klodian Allajbeu, Matthew Raftopoulos, Principal of MPR Financial Services, Australia, and the well-known Australian actress Mary Coustas whom Dr. Patoulis personally thanked for her contribution to the awareness of the success of Assisted Reproduction methods in Greece, a Medical Tourism branch of Greece that has already achieved success and is helping the country become a top Medical Tourism destination globally.

Dr. Pantos said, “Today’s event is of great importance with regard to the journey and to the destination of Ithaca, the island of Odysseus, in our daily routine. We aim to connect mother Greece with the Greek Diaspora and promote the medical services we currently offer in our country, which are truly excellent. It is a key goal to continue to gain confidence and for more and more people to come from abroad and especially from the Diaspora to Greece for Health Tourism Services.”

More information is available online: https://healthtourismcenter.org.



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