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Good European practices in the field of health tourism in Germany and Hungary

Siyka Katsarova


Introduction: More and more countries in Europe and the world, including Bulgaria, are focusing on diversifying their tourism product, relying on sustainable forms of tourism such as spa wellness and medical tourism. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to unite the efforts of different governments and institutions to overcome the crisis in tourism and the growing cases of post-COVID syndrome. In this process it is useful to exchange good practices for the development of health tourism in countries that have long traditions and good results in this area.

Aim: The purpose of this publication is to present good practices for the development of health tourism in Germany and Hungary as countries with a tradition and positive image in the market of health and medical tourism.

Materials and Methods: The main methods used in the study are documentary method, analysis of strategic documents and country reports, and analysis of both countries—destinations of good practices for health tourism.

Discussion and Results: Germany has excellent opportunities for health tourism and offers spa, wellness and medical services in various centers, from day spas to beauty and well-developed medical resorts with modern technical equipment and well-trained and experienced medical staff. Many medical tourists choose Germany for their medical treatment each year, and the whole process is facilitated by adequate policies. The government has taken to provide its national and foreign guests with the best available medical services, including outpatient prevention and prevention in spas. The insurance coverage for medical procedures is one of the best steps in this regard and Bulgaria can take advantage of this opportunity to offer spa services to German citizens who will be reimbursed in their country.

With regard to the other good practice—the Hungarian model, their government emphasizes in all strategic documents the role of spa, wellness and medical tourism based on the services provided, quality, size and categories—international, national, regional, and local.

According to this approach, the National Strategy for the Development of Health Tourism in Hungary distinguishes between 17 spas and medical sites of international importance, 60 of national importance, and 110 of local importance. This practice can be applied at a later stage in Bulgaria in order to overcome regional imbalances in Bulgaria.

Conclusion: Despite the multi-layered crises that follow the COVID pandemic, despite the declining purchasing power of citizens in all European countries, health tourism and health tourism destinations are expected to continue to increase their influence and participate more in the tourism mix. Their main advantage is the individual approach to each tourist and the opportunities to improve the health and quality of life of people of all ages. In this regard, the exchange of good practices is an effective tool at national and corporate level.


health tourism, good practices, Germany, Hungary

Full Text


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