Health Tourism is booming in Heidelberg: top medical care attracts international patients

Health tourism is continuing to grow in Heidelberg. Heidelberg is a top medical destination in Germany. In 2014 approximately 49,000 overnight stays were recorded for guests from Arab Gulf States, and around 18,000 overnight stays by Russian guests. This number shows a rise of more than 150 percent in overnight stays by Arab guests over the past four years. The overnight stays by Russian visitors have more than doubled.

Heidelberg Marketing serves the market with a variety of marketing initiatives. As a result, a new edition of a medicine brochure was recently published not only in English and Russian, but also for the first time in Arabic. Since international patients often arrive with family and spend several weeks in Heidelberg, a full packet has been put together – featuring information on professional medical care, accommodations, and day programs for the families. The medical brochure is used at professional exhibitions in the source markets and is also distributed through the International Office of the Heidelberg University Hospital. “The Heidelberg University Hospital is regarded as a renowned center for top medical care in foreign countries as well. So we offer help to patients with serious and complex illnesses as long as our capacity allows for it,” explains Prof. Guido Adler, Chief Medical Director and Chairman of the Board at the Heidelberg University Hospital. “In 2014 we treated approximately 3,000 patients from abroad, this was approximately two percent of all hospital treatments. About half of these international patients came from Arab Gulf States, particularly from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait; the other half were predominantly from neighboring European countries and from Russia.”

In the area of health tourism, Heidelberg Marketing works together closely with the University Hospital and Heidelberg hotels – the so-called “Marketing Pool – International Patients” to provide information and special offers to source markets in Arab Gulf States and in Russia, whether it’s through press relations work, newsletters, websites, or brochures. “Health tourism is a growing market across Germany and in the field of oncology Heidelberg is one of the top destinations worldwide. It is our goal to draw even more international attention to Heidelberg – as a scientific city and research metropolis,” according to Mike de Vries, CEO of Heidelberg Marketing. “This gives Heidelberg hotels the opportunity to acquire new guests – not just for the larger establishments, but particularly for the small ones,” he adds. An opportunity that increasingly more hotels are taking advantage of. In 2015, 13 companies from the hospitality industry with a total of 17 establishments took part in the “International Patients” marketing program. Additional information is available at


Heidelberg Marketing

Contact Information
Anja Barlen-Herbig, Head of Communications
Tel: +49 6221 58 40 240