Seeking to capitalize on its reputation as a prime tourism destination, Cyprus is now promoting medical travel to the Mediterranean island, especially from Europe and the Middle East.
The Cyprus Health Service Promotion Board, a non-profit organization founded in November 2006 by the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI), is promoting medical travel to Cyprus, working with the Cyprus Chamber of Commerce, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism, and Cyprus Tourism Organization.
Cyprus is promoting the low costs of its medical services provided by professionals trained in the United Kingdom and U.S. in conjunction with its easy access from the major air gateways in Europe and the Mideast.
Tasoula Manaridis of the Cyprus Tourist Office in New York told Travel Market Report that treatments available in Cyprus for medical travelers include:
1. Check ups and diagnostic tests (e.g. annual physicals, gynecological exams, mammogram's).
2. General surgery (from orthopaedic's to neurosurgery, from transplants to heart surgery).
3. Cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.
4. Ophthalmology (eye tests, surgery, laser surgery).
5. Orthopaedic treatments and physiotherapy.
6. Dentistry (cosmetic, preventive, periodontology, implantology, endodontics, orthodontics).
7. Cardiology, Kidney dialysis
8. Fertility treatments, embryotic medicine.
“The island's standing as a favorite holiday destination also means that the range of desirable facilities on offer to holidaymakers extends to medical travelers,” said Manaridis.
“Excellent accommodation facilities, catering establishments and cultural venues are available, while factors such as the sunshine, the warm welcome, the stable social and political environment, and the relaxed pace of life make Cyprus the ideal place to not only receive treatment but also to recuperate afterwards.”
Manaridis continued that as “the perfect complement to medical tourism, Cyprus boasts an extensive range of health and wellness spas offering a broad range of traditional and alternative treatments and therapies, Thalassotherapy and traditional baths and hamams, beauty treatments and aromatherapy, hot stone massage and hydrotherapy -- there are countless treatments guaranteed to soothe, rejuvenate and inspire.”
Formerly ruled by Britain, Cyprus promotes its English-speaking medical professionals and EU-standards for health care.
The Health Ministry promised to co-sponsor the accreditation applications of a number of private health institutions but, so far, only the Bank of Cyprus oncology centre in Nicosia has been accredited.
According to the Cyprus Health Service Promotion Board, the country offers medical travelers:
* Excellent medical infrastructure;
* Well-equipped, technologically sophisticated hospitals and clinics;
* Highly qualified specialists, doctors, nurses and technical staff;
* Consultations, test results and treatment with no waiting lists;
* Familiarity with the UK medical system because many Cyprus-based consultants and doctors have been trained in the UK or in other English-speaking countries;
* Very high standards of hygiene.
One of Cyprus' existing "centers of excellence" catering to medical travelers, the American Heart Institute, is scheduled to open a new facility in Nicosia in September. In the existing AHI hospital, 30% of AHI patients are non-locals, mainly coming from the United Kingdom. With the new hospital, an AHI spokesman said that the hospital expects to increase the number of overseas patients.
The new 50-bed hospital will be a center of excellence in cardiology, performing the entire spectrum of diagnostic and therapeutic cardiology and cardiac surgery, supported by state-of-the-art technology.
AHI believe that its location in Cyprus, along with low cost, high quality services, is among its competitive advantages because the island's mild climate (300 days of sunshine a year) suits rehabilitation, and that's why it is marketing its services to patients from all over Europe and the Middle East.
The Cyprus Health Service Promotion Board is targeting the UK as one of its prime medial travel markets, because of Cyprus' historical ties to Britain as well as the large Greek Cypriot community in Great Britain, according to the board's spokesperson. Cyprus’ main source markets for medical tourism are the UK, Germany, Netherlands, Russia, Greece and the Middle East, said Manaridis.
According to a 2007 survey by the Ministry of Health, 60% of the private hospitals in Cyprus treat patients from abroad.
As for the tourism aspect of Cyprus' medical tourism offerings, the destination offers patients and their companions a rich history and vibrant culture from Roman mosaics to beautiful Byzantine churches, along with natural attractions that include uncrowded beach resorts, great cuisine and a wide array of accommodations choices, many with health spas, as Manaridis noted.
For more information, visit www.cyhealthservices.com.