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ITB Berlin: Medical tourism is booming worldwide

The world of medical tourism has long become globalised: according to the latest report by VISA and Oxford Economics (www.bit.ly/2SVZd7O), the global medical tourism industry is currently worth around 100 billion dollars. Forecasts for 2025 see growth reaching up to 25 per cent. This industry is a significant economic factor for many countries and regions. From 6 to 10 March the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show will be giving this mega market of the future its own platform for the third time at the Medical Tourism Pavilion in Hall 21b.


The high demand expressed by international exhibitors at ITB Berlin reflects the global trend of people travelling across borders for medical treatment. The following companies are participating for the first time: Cluster Dalmatia-Health from Croatia; CGH Earth Wellness, an Indian specialist in medical ayurveda applications; Dentexpert, a dental clinic from Romania; Viaggiare & Soidene (Travel & Smile) from Albania; and three other companies from Poland: the online portal MKT Plus, Stomatologia and the Allmedica Clinic. This year, the Association of Historical Spas is also taking part in the show. International companies include the following regular exhibitors: the Health Tourism Industry Conference (HTI), Europe’s largest B2B event for health tourism, and Baki International, Health & Travel Solutions, which specialises in medical tourism to Turkey, both of which are partner organisations of ITB Berlin.


Taking part for the third time, the Dünyagöz Eye Clinic will have information on its health services and also be offering eye examinations directly at the show. On the weekend for the general public, European Medical Spas (ESPA), also a regular exhibitor, will be holding a number of lectures on natural remedies from Lower Saxony and thermal medical treatment methods from France and Bulgaria. For the first time, the European Medical Buyers’ Initiative (EBI) will also be represented at ITB Berlin. This event exclusively targets buyers and agencies who find clinics around the world for their patients. The Medical Tourism Pavilion is being presented by the hair transplant clinics Turkeyana Clinic Istanbul (supporting partner) and Dormo-Med Krakau (premium partner).


On Wednesday, 6 March, after the official opening of the Medical Pavilion by Rika Jean-Francois, CSR and medical tourism officer of ITB Berlin, and Thomas Bömkes, managing director, Diversity Tourism, and consultant for ITB Berlin, the Medical Travel Quality Alliance (MTQUA) will present the Top 10 World’s best hospitals for medical tourists. Among the selection criteria for contestants are the quality of medical treatment on offer and the wellbeing of the patient. Laszlo Puchko, director of Industry Intelligence, Resources for Leisure Assets, RLA Global, will present the eagerly awaited results of the new ETC/UNWTO report on ‘Exploring Health Tourism – the Executive Summary’.


From Wednesday, 6 March to Friday, 8 March there will be daily panel discussions on a variety of topics as well as product presentations on the Medical Pavilion stage. Among the topics will be the best way for agencies to market all-inclusive health tourism packages and services, the challenges that social and cultural diversity poses for destinations offering medical tourism, and which medical tourism services are of interest to middle-aged travellers. The growth prospects for medical tourism in the EU will also be discussed. Berj K. Apkarian, vice president, Community Medical Center, San Joaquin Valley, California, will hold the keynote speech on the Wednesday of ITB and will explain how clinics can gain more patients by successfully applying weight reduction and dietary treatment methods. TheMedical Hotels panel, moderated by Prof. Dr. Kai Illing, Tourism Development Healthcare, will highlight current market developments and the direction that treatment and treatment trends are taking.


On Wednesday, 6 March, from 12.30 to 2 p.m. at the Medical Media Lunch, the media will have an opportunity to engage directly with exhibitors and buyers and obtain exclusive information. EVEX Medical Corporation, Georgia’s leading provider of healthcare services in the private sector, is the event partner of the lunch. On Friday, 8 March the ITB Medical Night, which is by special invitation only, will be taking place again. Exhibitors, destination managers, buyers and journalists will be gathering and networking at Hotel Orania in Kreuzberg. This year’s partner is the European Spas Association. More information and programme details can be found at www.bit.ly/2SPBqpH.

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