March 9th, 2022, as part of the ITB Convention the medical tourism session derived new perspectives of post pandemic concepts and treatments. The past two years were very challenging for the medical tourism industry but recovery in medical travel is on the horizon as experts are saying – medical tourism growth is possible already in 2022.
Travel is coming back very strongly, and wellness travel will do even better post Covid. One of the top industry experts argues that the demand and the investment is really there. The countries should focus on easing visa procedures and other protocols to make travel less cumbersome. Public health spendings and initiatives will rise, with a focus on preventative wellness. The pandemic has brought many health and wellness silver linings: medical innovation and regulatory approvals are moving faster than ever; plant-based diets have risen; telemedicine and digital health and wellness platforms mean much greater access to services and are moving more medicine and care into the home.
During the discussion there were brought in some important conclusions from last Global Wellness Summit about potential growth of wellness markets. It says that all eleven wellness markets will experience strong growth; the ones hit hardest by the pandemic (wellness tourism, thermal/mineral springs, and spas) will see the biggest growth in the next four years; and the biggest pandemic “winners” (wellness real estate and mental wellness) will also see powerful market expansion.
Apart from cutting-edge medical procedures, state-of-the-art facilities and robust infrastructure, suppliers will need to focus on convenient end-to-end arrangements complying with culture-specific practices and the highest safety protocol standards. Customer-specific medical tourism packages shall reflect the main consequences of Covid 19, such as Long Covid, mental health, neurorehabilitation, cardio rehabilitation and pulmonary rehabilitation. Moreover, healing holidays and wellness vacations are going to be the key triggers to attract medical tourists.
One of those who have done a fantastic job in medical tourism is Slovakia: following the panel discussion the prestigious ITB Medical Tourism Award was handed out for the third time to an outstanding industry member. Congratulations Slovak Spas Association and health resorts for its first fully paid for and approved by the Ministry of Health Corona recovery concept in medical spas and health resorts in Europe!
Panelists of the Medical Tourism Session:
Prof. Alessandra Priante, Director – Regional Dept. for Europe at World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
Dr. Luidmila Andreeva, Head of International Relations, HTI Partner Ltd.
Csilla Mezösi, Secretary General, European Spas Association (ESPA)
Simone Zagrodnik, Executive Director, European Histoic Thermal Towns Association (EHTTA)
More information about the ITB 2022 https://www.itb.com/en/