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Hungary and Czech Republic Promote Medical Tourism

Hungary and Czech Republic Promote Medical Tourism

Thursday May 24, 2012

Medical tourism has been identified as a lucrative market for many Central European countries.

Tourism promotion agency CzechTourism has launched Internet campaigns targeting Britain, Russia and other post-Soviet states, Germany, Switzerland, and several rich Arab countries. It is promoting the country’s reputation for high quality and low price surgical, dental and cosmetic treatment, with the aim of attracting more medical tourists to the country. Iveta Jakoubková of CzechTourism says, “Most of the interest at the moment is for various types of cosmetic surgery, while obesity treatment is also popular.
The latest advertising initiative follows on from the publication last year of the first comprehensive catalogue of surgical and health treatments offered, the “Medical Tourism Guide Czech Republic”, in English, German, and Russian versions. Foreigners are already attracted to the Czech Republic for various types of operation, including fertility treatment, eye operations, dental treatment, and simple surgery.’

CzechTourism admits that no statistics are kept on the number of visits to the country for various medical or cosmetic treatments offered by specialized clinics or in some of the country’s biggest hospitals, but there is a clear impression that interest in the country is rising in what is identified as a booming market. Estimates put the cost of various health and cosmetic treatments in the Czech Republic at around a third or quarter of what they would cost in Western Europe, Russia or the Middle East.

HealthCzech, another medical tourism portal, provides information about healthcare services available in the Czech Republic and is part of the Treatment Abroad group of specialized medical tourism websites owned by Intuition Communication.

With a growing reputation for excellent dental services and prices 40% to 60% lower than those in the UK or Germany, many Europeans head to Hungary for dental treatment.

The Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban emphasised the growing importance of this sector at a conference on dental tourism at which he announced that it generated some €227 million a year for Hungary. He took the opportunity to sign an agreement of co-operation with medical companies to push the development of dental tourism programmes. Hungary claims that it already has a 40% share of all trips in search of dental services.

To preserve its advantage over other countries, spa and dental tourism is to receive financial incentives of €117 million from the Hungarian Government. The scheme will help to modernise the sector, financing technical improvements, and will also provide grants to Hungarian practitioners to prevent them emigrating at a time of deep economic difficulties in the country. The government hopes to double the number of foreigners coming for dental care by 2014 and to treble it by 2016.

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Tags: medical tourism, Czech Republic, eye surgery, SPA, Hungary, infertility treatment, dental treatment, cosmetic surgery, obesity treatment

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