By Daniel Stroe – Bucharest
Thousands of people travel to Romania each year to get cheaper treatments in the dental clinics and this has become a real opportunity for developing the health tourism, Romanian officials stressed during the first day of the International Tourism Conference held in Bucharest.
„Thousands of people get medical treatment in our dental clinics which promote themselves. They pay about a quarter of what they pay in their origin country. This could be an opportunity for the Romanian health tourism” Vasile Cepoi, adviser to the Romanian PM Victor Ponta, said in a speech delivered during the event hosted by former communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu’s People’s Palace, the second largest building in the world.
Cepoi underlined there is a great potential as concerns ophthalmology, plastic surgery, heart surgery, interventional cardiology, cardiac and orthopedic prosthesis and in vitro fertilization for the development of health tourism in Romania. “We have resources, we are motivated and want to develop this activity for the benefits of patients in Romania, Europa and elsewhere in the world” he added.
He admitted though the concept of health tourism is insufficiently defined in Romania and lack promotion, especially abroad, but these can be corrected through the implementation of a quality management system in the sector of health tourism which can also boost trust among foreign patients. “The patient of health tourism needs to know how possible damage can be covered and where to turn to if there is a problem” Cepoi underlined.
The governmental adviser pointed out PM Ponta decided to settle an inter-ministerial working group to draw up a strategy for the development of health tourism which first aims to identify both the problems and the incentives of this sector, along the necessary legislation required for this objective.
Also speaking at the conference, the Romanian minister of Tourism, Maria Grapini, underlined she aims to bring the Romanian tourism to up to 5 per cent of the country’s GDP, from the current mere 1.5 per cent. To this end, the government will open two new tourism offices in Japan and Dubai by the end of this year.
Romania has five certified spa-resorts and another ten are undergoing a certification process. Romania has an additional 120 places with therapeutical potential, of which 40 are national interest resorts and 80 resorts of local interest, Grapini also said.
About 47 countries are represented at the International Tourism Conference in Bucharest. Romania has held the presidency of the World Tourism Organization since 2012.