Lithuania, the largest of the three Baltic States, has become a popular destination in recent years, with the number of international tourists visiting the country growing by 10.8% in 2018 alone. Similarly, the country’s medical tourism industry is also experiencing a boom, with Lithuania expected to become one of the top-five European medical destinations by 2022.
Since becoming a European Union member state in 2004, Lithuania’s medical tourism industry has flourished. This is largely due to EUR 10 billion in EU funding, which was directed to revamping the country’s healthcare facilities. This financing also included funding universities to provide local and international medical students with world-class higher education, as well as retraining schemes for existing health care professionals.
Subsequently, Lithuanian medical institutions and their highly-qualified professionals are able to offer world-class health care treatments costing up to three-times less than in Western Europe due to lower taxes and labour costs. In-line with Lithuania’s growing tourism industry, so has the demand for ‘wellness tourism’ and ‘medical tourism’.
Medical tourism is when a patient travels abroad to receive more affordable or higher-quality treatments than they would have access to in their home country. Meanwhile, wellness tourists seek out a vacation that will maintain or improve their mental and physical health. The driving factors behind where to visit are usually based on unique, location-based experiences or therapies that are either unavailable or too expensive compared to where the visitor comes from.
Overall, medical tourism provides treatments and aesthetic changes such as surgery or dental work. Wellness tourism offers preventative measures such as mud and water SPA therapies, as well as active leisure.
As Lithuania’s medical tourism sector continues to grow alongside the increasing number of general tourists visiting the Baltic nation year-on-year, Health Tourism Lithuania aims to bring together those seeking wellness and medical treatments via a series of packages to a number of Lithuania’s widely-recognized wellness hotspots. These locations include the coastal resort of Palanga, the pine forests and sand dunes of Nida, as well as local SPA towns, such as Birštonas.
“The number of tourists coming to Lithuania has increased during the last year alone, and if we factor in the predictions made surrounding health tourism by 2022, we have every reason to be optimistic,” said Reda Ambrozaitė, one of the founders of Health Tourism Lithuania. “In addition to the lower costs of healthcare in Lithuania, we also believe that by mixing the trends of medical and wellness tourism, we can open the country to new client groups from across Europe.”
The interest in Lithuania as a popular destination for medical and general tourists is unquestionable. Should medical and labour costs continue to remain low, then there is every possibility that the country’s medical clinics and wellness resorts will also enjoy even greater popularity amongst new demographics.