Healing Regions

Project completed
Sports group in the forest
Switzerland is supporting medicinal tourism in the Hungarian Northern Great Plain. © SECO

As part of its enlargement contribution, Switzerland is supporting this tourism project to strengthen Destination Management Organisations (DMO) in the economic development areas of Northern Hungary and the Northern Great Plain. The project focuses on medical tourism.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Promoting economic growth and improving working conditions
Export promotion for SMEs
01.10.2010 - 31.12.2014
CHF  1’099’779

Note: the texts under all the headings, with the exception of 'Results achieved', describe the situation before the start of the project.


In 2005 Hungary developed an overall tourist strategy called National Tourism Development Strategy of the Hungarian Tourist Authority (2005-2013). A National Medical Tourism Development Plan (2007-2013) was added to it. The strategy direction of these formal documents includes the setting up of larger Destination Management Organizations in several regions to restructure the tourist institutional system, strengthen the tourist values of the region, and thus contribute to employment creation.

Hungarian registration number: SH 6/4


One goal of the project is to develop a Destination Management Organization, strengthen the tourist values of the region, and thus contribute to increased competitiveness of the region and to employment creation. Based on healing services in the defined region and the whole business potential of this region, this project will not only lead to job creation in the specific sectors concerned, but it will also take into account all stakeholders directly or indirectly related to the concept.

Target groups

The beneficiaries are business providers of the region, small and medium touristic enterprises of the least developed micro-regions (Sirok and Matraderecske), members of the Tourist Destination Management Organization, health care organizations, and, as a result of the increased competitiveness of the region, residents of the region.

  • Branding and product development through the adoption of best practices based on international experiences
  • Courses allowing tourism agencies to better sell their products
  • Some language trainings allowing Hungarian service providers to better communicate with foreign tourists
  • Instruments of marketing communication such as e-learning, workshops, publications, brochures, national and international exhibitions enhancing the marketing capacities of the tourist agencies and other suppliers.

Achieved results:  

  • The project has been fully implemented in accordance with expected results: Consequently,
  • The concept and brand "Healing Regions" has been created. As a result, the local healing factors and specific tourist attractions have been identified.
  • 9 medical products groups have been defined.
  • 15 comprehensive medical tourism packages to attract health tourists have been developed.
  • A Medical Tourism Destination Management Organization has been established to promote the  tourism values of the Mátra and Debrecen regions and to strenghten their competitiveness in the overall tourism market of Hungary.
  • There is increasing dialogue and partnerships among the health tourism stakeholders in the two regions. The goal is involving local and regional stakeholders, strategic partners and communication professionals.
  • The key features of health tourism, quality assurance requirements, have been elaborated and compiled in a manual.
  • The basis of a health tourism accreditation system has been elaborated.
  • 152 persons working for healthcare and tourism SMEs have been trained in total.
  • 3 new medical equipment and 1 training kitchen have been procured.
  • An online reservations system has been developed to bring the health tourism program packages to the market through electronic destination management.
    Brochures, and PR giveaways, such as bathrobes and gadgets have been prepared to enhance the marketing capacities of the tourism agencies and other suppliers.
  • The health and therapeutic tourism competitiveness of the the Northern Hungary and the Northern Great Plain regions has been strengthened.

Directorate/federal office responsible SECO
Credit area Swiss Contribution to the enlarged EU
Project partners Contract partner
  • Hungarian National Development Agency

Implementing partner
VÁTI Ltd and Mátra Therapeutic Institute

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF    1’099’779 Swiss disbursement to date CHF    986’322
Project phases Phase 3 01.10.2010 - 31.01.2015   (Completed)

Phase 2 01.10.2010 - 31.12.2014   (Completed)