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Hotel Convento La Magdalena brought together almost one hundred representatives from the world of health and tourism at the presentation of the Clúster Español de Turismo de Salud (Spanish Cluster for Health Tourism), formed by the Federación Nacional de Clínicas Privadas (FNCP), the Asociación Nacional de Balnearios (ANBAL), the Federación Empresarial de la Dependencia (FED), the Confederación Española de Hoteles y Alojamientos Turísticos (CEHAT) and the Confederación Española de Agencias de Viajes (CEAV). 
 
The event was directed by Jesús Burgos, the President of the Asociación de Clínicas Privadas de Málaga, who declared his pride at seeing a project that began over three years ago finally come to fruition. 
 
Manuel Barón, the Mayor of Antequera, highlighted the region's great potential to be a leading player in tourism, and the continuous work to innovate and promote new tourism activities. Barón said, "the first step has been taken, given that health tourism is present in Spain," although the sector must continue to be developed. 
 
Para José Navas, The Managing Director of Tourism & Health Spain, the regional initiative of Turismo de Salud for Eastern Andalusia, said health tourism is the area with the greatest potential for growth within tourism and it is already a reality in this zone. According to Navas, "the progressive aging of the European population will make health services ever more necessary, and this is a great opportunity for Andalusia." Navas also indicated that health tourism in Andalusia breaks from the seasonal nature the area traditionally suffers.
 
The presentation of the Cluster was given by Carlos Rus, its General Secretary, who summarised the objectives of the project: to position Spain as a leader in the health tourism market, and to attract flows of patients to our health centres and tourism infrastructure. Rus commented on the need to "unite to compete in other markets, although internally we are competitive." He also named the specific work and packages in each market as essential factors for the success of the project. 
 
To finish, Rafael Rodríguez, the Minister for Tourism and Commerce in Andalusia, highlighted the union of efforts and resources to improve the position of our country as a health tourism destination. The Minister believes this is the best way to make the resources we have go further. 
 
Rodríguez declared the Ministry's support for the Cluster and the idea of continuing to work in collaboration with this kind of business platforms. Furthermore, he highlighted that Andalusia is an excellent setting for the development of this tourism sector and that "the Spanish health tourism cluster is the perfect ally in our quest to become a model destination." He continued, "In Andalusia there is a large selection of spas, hotels specialised in relaxation and the treatment of certain illnesses, an unbeatable network of private hospitals and, of course, an excellent climate and range of tourism options that make it a unique destination.”
 
Representatives from the different sectors involved in the project attended the event. these included Arturo Bernal, the Director of Patronato de Turismo de la Costa del Sol, José Luis Marcos, the Director for the Province of Malaga at Agencia IDEA, Pedro Pardo, the Vice President of the Federación Empresarial de la Dependencia, and Juan Bosco Rodríguez, the Director of the Health Tourism Work Group at the Federación Nacional de Clínicas Privadas. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ABOUT THE SPANISH CLUSTER FOR HEALTH TOURISM
The Spanish Cluster for Health Tourism (Clúster Español de Turismo de Salud) was created on 4 July. Its Board of Directors is comprised of the following individuals: 
President: Mr Íñigo Valcaneras de Roda (FNCP / Clínica Universidad de Navarra). 
First Vice President: Mr Miguel Mirones Díez (ANBAL).
Vice President of Health: Mr José Alberto Echevarría García (FED).          
Vice President of Tourism: Mr Juan Molas (CEHAT).                                                 
Treasurer: Mr Rafael Gallego Nadal (CEAV). 
 
Spokesperson: Mr Juan Bosco Rodríguez Hurtado (FNCP).
Spokesperson: Mr Luis Miguel López Carral (ANBAL). 
Spokesperson: Mr Valentín Ugalde Drové (CEHAT).
Spokesperson: Mr Jesús Contreras Luzón (FED).
Spokesperson: Mrs Mercedes Tejero Alguacil (CEAV).
 
General Secretary: Mr Carlos Rus Palacios (FNCP)
 
According to the FNCP's market study on health tourism, the total volume of business registered by receiving health tourism countries exceeded $7.4 billion. In Spain, the market reaches around €140 million, but it could reach €500 million in 2015.   
The Cluster will focus its actions in the markets that the study has defined as priorities: Germany, the United Kingdom and France. However, it will also opt to attract visitors from Nordic and Benelux countries.
 

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