Health Excellence 2016

A new dynamism in health tourism

For some years now, visitBerlin has promoted a medical facility network, cooperated with major medical events, and presented Berlin’s medical tourism services in selected markets. In 2016, medical tourism in Berlin gained a new dynamic as new marketing activities were initiated and the raft of existing partnerships and cooperations further expanded. These measures came in the wake of visitBerlin’s cooperation with the Berlin Partner for Business and Technology (Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH) and were funded by the Senate Department for Economic Affairs, Energy and Public Enterprises.


One key activity in 2016 was designing the website, a platform presenting Berlin’s medical expertise and excellence as well as its appeal as a tourism destination. At the same time, the website’s innovative features make it much easier for potential patients and decision-makers to organise medical treatment for a stay in the city. 
After the tender procedure for website design, programming, copy-editing and project management was completed, the project was awarded to CB.e (web design) and we care communications (copy-editing). At a kick-off workshop with visitBerlin, both agencies and the Berlin Partner for Business and Technology, the expectations and target group focus were discussed, and website structure and content drafted. By the end of 2016, the website’s basic design was agreed on, content developed, the first programming milestones reached, and partners acquired for the website presence. This new website has now been online since spring 2017 and is available in five languages: English, German, Arabic, Russian and Chinese.

Expanding and cultivating networks

“Berlin – Germany’s medical capital” – kick-off event on 3 June 2016

At a kick-off event in the Hotel Palace Berlin on 3 June 2016 attended by visitBerlin CEO Burkhard Kieker and Berlin Partner CEO Dr. Stefan Franzke, the “Berlin – Centre of Medical Excellence” project was officially launched and potential partners presented. The event was attended by around 80 participants. They showed considerable interest in the project, resulting in an intensive exchange of views in the subsequent networking session.

“Berlin – Germany’s medical capital” – partner meeting on 14 July 2016

A partner meeting was arranged as a follow-up event, serving to provide interested medical facilities and travel trade companies with more information, and a chance to network with each other. At the meeting, relevant findings from a previous partner survey were presented, and partners encouraged to lend their support to the project and continue their cooperation.

 Newsletter: Medical Tourism News

Launched in 2016, Medical Tourism News keeps Berlin partners up to date on the Health Excellence initiative, and regularly presents past and upcoming projects and the latest news.

visitBerlin hospitals and clinics network

In 2016, the visitBerlin hospitals and clinics network, set up some time before, met twice. The network meetings serve as a forum for a mutual exchange of views between hospital experts, encouraging a broad discussion and joint planning of activities. On both these occasions, in addition to activities related to particular issues, the “Berlin – Centre of Medical Excellence” project was presented in more detail in various personal discussions to the actors and potential partners. 

Roadshows, fairs and events

ITB Berlin, 9-13 March 2016

ITB Berlin is the world’s leading travel trade show. It not only attracts over 180 exhibitors, but is attended by 120,000 travel industry professionals from around the world. To present the topic of medical tourism, visitBerlin organised a co-exhibitor stand together with the Vivantes Hospital Group, Paul Gerhardt Diakonie (PDG), Unfallkrankenhaus Berlin (ukb) and the Ernst von Bergmann Potsdam Clinic.

VIP Golf Events Beijing and Shanghai (China), 24/25 May 2016

Together with the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) office in China, day events were designed to present “Health Tourism and Sport in Berlin” at leading golf clubs in Beijing and Shanghai. At each of these events, the participants included selected CEOs and members of executive management from leading tour operators. The events focused on health and medical tourism, highlighting Berlin as a location of medical excellence and a top destination for treating patients from abroad. The guests at the events all received an extensive Berlin information pack including the Berlin Medical Tourism Guide.

GNTB Medical Workshop Moscow (Russia), 8 September 2016

visitBerlin also took part in a Medical Workshop in Moscow on 8 September 2016 hosted by the German National Tourist Board (GNTB). The workshop offered a chance for Russian travel industry representatives, in particular Russian promoters of health tourism and patient service agencies, to learn about medical care and tourism providers in Germany. The day’s agenda not only included the workshop and a networking lunch, but also a lecture by a representative of the German Embassy in Moscow on the process of obtaining visas for medical treatment. In press meetings with Russian media representatives, Berlin’s role in the German medical landscape was highlighted as a location for medical excellence and a top destination for international patients.

LTM Luxury Travel Mart Almaty (Kazakhstan), 30 September 2016

The Luxury Travel Mart, the leading B2B event in the luxury travel sector in Russia and neighbouring countries, is held three times a year. The LTM fair in Almaty, Kazakhstan, attracted around 100 international travel trade exhibitors. In 2016, the main focus of our presentation at this fair was on Berlin as Germany’s ‘medical capital’. As was evident from the discussions with participants at the fair, medical tourism was a topic of considerable interest, especially since medical services in Germany generally enjoy a good reputation. Providing Berlin can further develop its medical services portfolio and promote a sustained market presence highlighting the city’s medical expertise, it has good chances of positioning itself on a par with such established medical centres as Freiburg.

CMTF China International Medical Tourism Fair, 18-20 November 2016

The China International Medical Tourism Fair (CMTF) is presently the largest medical tourism fair in China. The venue for the fair rotates on an annual basis between the three cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The CMTF Beijing was held from 18–20 November 2016 with around 100 international exhibitors. A forum and conference was held at the same time as a parallel event. Together with the Vivantes Hospital Group, visitBerlin represented the German capital city as a centre of medical excellence and a medical tourism destination. During the fair, visitBerlin could network and gain important insights into the market. In addition to its presence at the fair, visitBerlin organised a Berlin Medical Travel Lunch for B2B contacts to highlight the city’s qualities as a medical location and travel destination. Although most people in China presently prefer to travel within Asia for medical treatment, there is nonetheless significant potential for European health tourism. 

Accompanying activities

Pressegespräch Health Excellence ©  visitBerlin, Foto: Dirk Mathesius


The Berlin Medical Tourism Guide, first published in English in 2015 by visitBerlin in cooperation with the HealthCapital cluster, provides international guests with information on Berlin’s medical service portfolio as well as recommendations for hotels and tips on leisure activities. Between June and October 2016, the Berlin Medical Tourism Guide was translated into three other languages – Russian, Arabic and Chinese – and is now available in these languages as well, both in print as well as digitally. With information available on Berlin’s medical facilities and tourism services in these languages, the B2B and B2C contacts and target groups in these markets can be addressed specifically.

FAM trips

Familiarisation trips for medical tourism in Berlin are designed for the employees of tour and coach tour operators as well as other travel industry multipliers already marketing the city as a destination for health and medical tourism or planning to do so.
In 2016, a total of three FAM trips were organised for medical tourism, two for Saudi Arabia and one for the CIS countries. In each case, depending on the focus, the guests also visited selected Berlin hospitals and clinics, hotels and other tourist partners.

Press trips

In 2016, visitBerlin arranged press trips for media representatives in international print and online media who were planning to include reports on Berlin and medical tourism in their work or who had been invited to do so. visitBerlin looked after the international journalists and bloggers during their stay in Berlin, supporting them with the tour’s organisation, research materials, and networking opportunities with appropriate partners.
In 2016, two FAM trips for medical tourism were organised for media representatives from the Arab Gulf states, and one event was held with Chinese correspondents in Berlin.

Media cooperation: TV project with MBC

In November 2016, as part of the Health Excellence initiative, visitBerlin provided assistance for an Arabic TV documentary on alternative treatments for cancer. The documentary, which took authentic cases to present alternative and successful cancer therapies, included Berlin as an example of a location for immune therapy. Here, the Vivantes Hospital Group participated as a partner. The 30-minute documentary is being offered to various TV broadcasters in Arab-speaking countries as well as the Dubai Film Festival, and an abridged version has been shown by the successful Arabic MBC broadcaster. 

Online activities in the Arab states

In 2016, in the run up to the launch of the Arabic version of the website, a campaign was prepared through the social media channels of On Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, the campaign set out to highlight the appeal of Berlin’s tourist attractions and its strengths as a medical destination.