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A 20% increase in revenues in the first year of operation of Italcares, the B2B platform dedicated to medical tourism whose project was presented in Rome by the national spa body in collaboration with Federterme. «Italcares is under development and will be operational in January – stated Massimo Caputi, president of Federterme – Confindustria -. It will be mainly dedicated to pension and supplementary pension funds in Northern Europe whose clients need access to medical care for prevention and rehabilitation purposes but also to services for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and well-being. It wants to strengthen the positioning of medical and wellness tourism in Italy by promoting international incoming and developing value for the entire national socio-economic system”.
The project has the support, among others, of the Ministry of Tourism with the Single National Fund. 9 million customers of which only 12% come from abroad. As regards the hospitality part, the offer counts on around 30,000 beds with an average stay of 3.8 days per hotel – spa. The value of medical tourism in Italy is instead worth 2.1 billion. Italcares aims to intercept patients who need to undergo medical checks for preventive and rehabilitative purposes. «In July contacts will be made with other public and private health structures to involve them in the project on a par with what happens in other countries – continues Caputi -. We have a very strong gap compared to Spain, France, Slovenia where European health funds send their patients for treatment. With Italcares we will have an integrated platform with the offer of centers of excellence, thermal and tourist services». Compared to its competitors, Italy makes a 360-degree offer that leverages art and culture with a thousand-year history in spa treatments such as, for example, the bronzes found in San Casciano dei Bagni in Tuscany, the area with its villages and nature trails, food and wine culture. In this way, in its first year of activity, Italcares should grow the medical tourism business by around 400 million, which in 2022 was worth 2.1 billion. Wellness tourism, on the other hand, is worth 13.3 billion and Italcares should increase receipts by 10%.
It is calculated that every euro spent on treatment generates another 4.5 of relapse on the territory. «Italcares perfectly embodies the dual soul of Italian thermalism, halfway between medicine and wellness and therefore also between medical tourism and leisure tourism – adds Marina Lalli, president of Forst, the thermal scientific research foundation -. Forst aims to support the validity of the former thanks to the scientific studies it finances and the diffusion of thermal medicine as a form of prevention and treatment of numerous pathologies, first of all respiratory and osteoarticular pathologies also thanks to motor and respiratory rehabilitation in spa area”. With this in mind, the offer of packages for protected medical tourism is being evaluated, for those patients who would not travel without a direct line, a telemedicine solution, with the medical staff of their country. In 2022, the Italian thermal market, according to Ebiterme surveys, recorded a turnover of 1.3 billion against almost 1.6 in 2019, while the direct employees employed in the spas are 10,500. Last year there was a decrease in the average age of spa hotel customers.