A total of 66 natural thermal springs across Greece have been approved to become spa facilities by the Tourism Ministry with an additional 52 under assessment.
According to Deputy Tourism Minister Manos Konsolas, a relative ministerial decision had been signed by Tourism Minister Harry Theoharis, who also noted that the springs of Apollonas on the island of Ikaria will soon be licensed to operate.
According to a nationwide study published last year by the Hellenic Association of Municipalities with Thermal Springs found that Greece’s thermal spring facilities can triple revenues to some 390 million euros per year if they are upgraded. Once this is done, the number of potential visitors to the nation’s thermal spa facilities can reach 3.1 million.
Konsolas said the authorisation of Greece’s thermal spring facilities has been delayed due to a lack of supporting documents.
The ministry has placed the promotion of thermal spring, health and wellness tourism high on its agenda, said Konsolas, adding that authorities are now looking into ways to develop this untapped market.
In this direction, the ministry will be revising the institutional framework for the certification of providers active in the field of health tourism.
He also said that the ministry would be offering incentives to attract investments in health tourism, support the creation of clusters between hospitals, medical centers, and hotels, as well as public-private partnerships.
There are currently more than 124 thermal springs across Greece.
The latest trends and developments in the field of thermal medicine and wellness tourism were also explored during the 5th Pan-Hellenic Conference of Thermal Medicine held in the Central Greece coastal town of Kamena Vourla.
Referring to the significant potential of the country’s thermal springs as part of a wider wellness tourism product, Konstantinos Kouskoukis, Hellenic Academy of Thermal Medicine president, noted that the time was right to tap into the vast potential of the field, adding the most important factor for the launch of this initiative is the country’s “scientific credibility”, and ensuring that medical supervision is offered by experienced and internationally acclaimed doctors.
Attica Regional Governor George Patoulis, who is leading the effort to establish Greece as an international health and wellness tourism destination, referred to the significant economic contribution thermal tourism can have, particularly with the upgrade of Greek cities and regions into unique health and wellness destinations open to travelers from across the globe.
According to Patoulis, health tourism is estimated at becoming the second largest industry after health and pharmaceuticals by 2025.