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ITB Berlin NOW: New strategies for international medical tourism and ideas for wellness tourism

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Medical Tourism segment with international medical tourism providers. Experts Forum Wellness event at the virtual convention provides a global market overview.

During the coronavirus pandemic it has become particularly apparent how important mental and physical health is. With its Medical Tourism segment, the virtual edition of ITB Berlin NOW from 9 to 12 March 2021 is again examining a market that has high growth potential. In the Medical Tourism segment, healthcare providers such as hospitals and clinics, but also hotels and tour operators, will come together to present new medical tourism products and services. At the ITB Berlin NOW Convention, discussions will take place on how the coronavirus crisis has impacted the medical tourism market and will offer an outlook for the future. In addition, the global travel industry’s largest think tank will also take a look at the latest trends and developments in the wellness market.

On Tuesday, March 2021 at 12.30 p.m., Rika Jean-Francois, commissioner for Corporate Social Responsibility, Medical Tourism managers at ITB Berlin and Thomas Bomkes, Medical Tourism advisor for ITB Berlin, Diversity Tourism GmbH, will officially open the Medical Tourism Cafe, kicking off a host of medical tourism-related activities at ITB Berlin NOW.

At the first event from 1 to 1.30 p.m., Katalonien Tourismus will give a presentation on ’Barcelona Medical Destination and Covid 19’. Esther Orriols, brand manager, Barcelona Medical Destination, Catalan Tourist Board, Dr. Marco Panichi, medical director of the Institute of Advanced Oncology, Atrys-IMOR, Dr. Antoni Arias, director of Internacional Services, Hospital Sant Joan de Deu, Marta Fernandez, head of Internationalization and project manager, barnaclinic+, will talk about the latest medical tourism services in Barcelona.

Afterwards, all media representatives are cordially invited to the Medical Media Get-together at the Medical Tourism Cafe from 1.30 to 2.30 p.m., where they can talk to the medical tourism providers and buyers present.

At the Medical Tourism Cafe, experts and service providers can meet, network and exchange ideas on the latest topics. Daily sessions for buyers will provide an ideal opportunity for doing business in this market. In addition to the ITB Medical Meeting Corner, Evex Hospitals with 19 hospitals from Georgia will participate in their own Meeting Corner. European Historic Thermal Towns and Great Spas of Europe will also be represented with their own Networking Meeting Corner.The ITB partner Health Tourism Industry (HTI) is setting up a Medical Buyer Meeting Corner where buyers and providers can meet at various times. Representatives and providers from a wide range of healthcare markets will also be present. This service in particular targets medical tourism customers from Germany, Russia, China, Turkey, Croatia, Ukraine, Finland, Italy, Portugal, USA, Kuwait, Qatar, Iran, UAE and Israel. A Meeting Corner with information on EU fundraising in medical tourism will round off the programme. All event dates can be downloaded from the Medical Tourism page and are listed in the Medical Tourism programme of ITB Berlin NOW 2021.

On Wednesday, 10 March 2021 from 1 to 4 p.m., the ITB Berlin NOW Convention will also devote time to the medical tourism market with discussions, lectures and presentations. During the opening event, Istvan Ujhelyi, Member of the European Parliament, Vice-chair of the Transport & Tourism Committee and member of the Environment & Public Health Committee, and Zdravko Pocivalsek, Deputy Prime Minister of Slovenia, Minister of Economic Development & Technology, will welcome the attendees.

Afterwards, Nejc Jus, Economic Research manager of the World Travel & Tourism Council, WTTC, will present the latest medical tourism statistics. In an interview Claudia Wagner, managing director of FIT Reisen, will explain the current debate surrounding services for travellers who have been vaccinated and holders of vaccination certificates.

At the HTI roundtable to follow, together with Leila Kresic-Juric, managing director of HTI Partner Ltd., the panel members Christian Fadi El-Khouri, managing partner of MESC International Patient Service, Germany, Sherif Hassan, CEO and founder of the Tripsetc Travel Company, USA, Ivana Kolar, CEO Julius Rose, Croatia & Slovenia and Sandeep Vohra, chief executive of Technology Investments, Roseview Investment & Advisors, UAE, will discuss the latest trends and developments in medical tourism.

In a lecture, Tom Dedek, EU fundraiser of Diversity Tourism GmbH, will provide an overview of how medical tourism providers can benefit from specific EU coronavirus development programmes currently on offer.

New ideas for recovering after the crisis
In order to alleviate the side effects experienced by patients after a coronavirus infection, many providers have developed new treatment concepts for medical spas and health resorts. At a discussion round with university lecturer Dr. Friedhart Raschke, Staatsbad Norderney GmbH, Claude-Eugene Bouvier, secretary general of the Conseil National des Etablissements Thermaux (CNET), France and Mike Wallace, an expert at Medical Spa & Wellness, and Csilla Mezosi, secretary general of the European Spas Association (ESPA), will present some new ideas for rehab programmes.

Dr. Anna Bialk-Wolf of the Institute of Research and Development of Medical Tourism, Poland, will argue the case for a new approach to medical tourism that takes innovative technologies and safety requirements into account.

Rounding off the day’s events will be the first presentation of the ITB Medical Tourism Award, powered by HTI, which goes to either a provider or destination for active and outstanding commitment to developing medical tourism. This year’s jury made up of partners from HTI, ESPA and ITB Berlin will announce the prize-winner live.

Wellness Tourism: Experts Forum Wellness event provides a global market overview
On Friday, 12 March 2021, taking place this year at the ITB Berlin NOW Convention at what will be the sixteenth ITB Experts Forum Wellness event, participants can delve into the world of wellness. Diana Sicher-Fritsch, proprietor of the Mental-Spa Resort Fritsch in Austria, will explain how mental wellness can benefit well-being. Afterwards, in three keynote speeches, experts will provide a current overview of the tourism situation at wellness destinations around the globe and give their forecasts for the future of the wellness market over the coming months and in the face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Laszlo Puczko, CEO and co-founder of Health Tourism Worldwide, will examine the European market. Elaine Okeke-Martin, president of the Spa & Wellness Association of Africa, will look at developments in Africa, and Samantha Dunn, managing director of DSM Destination Spa Management, will talk about spas and wellness in Asia.

Dr. Asoka Hettigoda, managing partner of Siddhalepa Ayurveda Resorts & Spas, will explain how Ayurvedic therapy can boost business after Covid-19. At a panel discussion, Michael Altewischer, managing partner of Wellness-Hotels & Resorts, Roland Fricke, managing partner of beauty24, and Wibke Metzger, press officer of Wellness-Hotels & Resorts, will reveal the wellness trends of 2021 in the German-speaking markets. Ingo Schweder, CEO and co-founder of GOCO Hospitality, will highlight how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted developments in wellness real estate.

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