George Patoulis: “The International market expects from Greece visible progress in the development of Thermal Tourism due to the quality and the extensive number of Greece’s hot springs, whichwere the first spas of the world since antiquity. Our geophysical and historical advantage should be exploited on best level to further assist in Health Travel Development in Greece and in Attica .

A visit in a hot spring during the vacations of the millions of travelers, who visit our country and Attica, should be well promoted, so as to help Thermal Medicine gain secondary Wellness travelers, who would choose the hot springs of Greece as Thermal Travelers next time, and become repeat tourists subsequently.

This was highlighted at the opening speech of the Regional Governor of Attica, President of Athens Medical Association (ISA) and of the International Health Tourism Center (IHTC), George Patoulis, at the 5th Pan-Hellenic Thermal Medicine Conference in Kamena Vourla, a spa town known since antiquity in the Central Greece Region.

Greece’s traditional and historical knowledge of Thermal Medicine is unique, underlined by the Regional Governor of Attica, and mentioned that the hot springs and Bath-towns of Ancient Greece were the first international Medical Tourism destinations in the world.

The Regional Governor of Attica condemned “the bureaucratic practices of the State that frustrate”, he said, “the development of Thermal Medicine and Thermal Tourism in Greece, and which,led today to a tragedy: the risk of the shut down of Loutra Pozar.”

The Pozar springs, a popular Thermal Tourism destination in Northern Greece is a member of the European HistoricThermal Towns Association (EHTTA).

“Ironically”, Mr. Patoulis said, “the EHTTA had announced that in March its next general assembly would take place in Loutra Pozar.”

“This destroys Greece’s credibility on a critical moment for the development of Health, Wellness and Thermal Tourism, when the international community expects from our country visible results.”

“Pozar is not the only case. Polychnitos in Lesvos, the hottest thermal spring of Europe, has also been shut, as is the Apollonia hot spring in Northern Greece, and two springs in Attica, the Methana sprigs. For those last two, the Attica hot springs in Methana I can assure you that they will open soon”, Mr. Patoulis emphasized .

Mr. Patoulis pointed out that Tourism is an important asset that contributes to the agenda of sustainable development of countries and regions, and stressed that Wellness Tourism is considered the ideal vehicle for decoupling overcrowded tourist destinations, such as Santorini and Rhodes in Greece .

The Regional Governor of Attica noted that Wellness Tourism encompasses a large and diverse set of activities and thematic forms of travel, such as agrotourism, culinary, cultural and sports tourism. “This international trend perfectly corresponds to our plans for tourism development and the promotion of Health and Wellness Tourism in Attica Region,” the Regional Governor said.

The conference is organized by the HellenicThermalAcademy and the EuropeanUniversity of Cyprus, and is held under the auspices of the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece , and the scientific auspices of the Academy’s President Konstantinos Kouskoukis 

The5th Pan-Hellenic Thermal Medicine Conference  was attended by Greek and foreign scientists, and  speeches were addressed by Konstantinos Kouskoukis, Professor of Therapeutic Medicine, and President of the Thermal Academy of Greece, Central Committee of Tourism Development of the Central Union of Municipalities of Greece, Gerasimos Yamoulakis, the Regional Governor of Central Greece, Theofanis Spanos, the Mayor of Kammen Vourla, Ioannis Sykiotis, the Mayor of Ambelokipi-Menemeni. President of the Central Union of Municipalities of Central Macedonia Lazaros Kyrizogou, Vice-President of the World Council of Greek Doctors Konstantinos Pandos, Secretary-General of the International Health Tourism Center Greece and abroad