Jadranka Primorac, member of the Management Board of Sv. Katarina: Medical and health tourism is an opportunity to position Croatia in the world

first_imgThe strength of the tourism brand that we have should be used for additional positioning in the health tourism market. Foreign tourists do not have a generally developed trust in the Croatian health care system, but they base it on individual experiences, which is not nearly enough for a larger number of foreign patients. As Croatia is becoming an increasingly desirable and popular tourist destination, this moment should be used and given added value because the effects of tourism are not only the effects on the commercialization of success through the hotel, marina or camps, ie “sun and sea” but it should be much wider.  For all of us who “live” medical tourism, there are situations where patients coming from countries where the perception of Croatia is somewhat worse remain surprised to learn that here they can get even better service than at home, often at a price that is 2-3 cheaper than with them. , and in addition discover many other beauties, from natural phenomena, cultural heritage to gastronomy.  It is absurd that out of 19 million foreign tourists who visited Croatia last year, the number of those who came for treatment is at the level of statistical error.- Jadranka Primorac, member of the Management Board of Sv. Catherine The growth of such demand for health and medical tourism services in the world is mostly generated by the crisis in the health systems of developed countries, high prices of health services, long waiting lists, and the general trend of population aging. The latest estimates from the European Commission show that in Europe, by 2040, the population over the age of 65 is expected to increase to 26% of the total population, so the growth in demand for health solutions outside their home countries will become even more important.  Building an attractive and sustainable destination for medical and health tourism requires a long-term strategy and action plan For example, in the new programming period, the use of financial resources from EU funds allocated for health care should be enabled not only to public institutions but also to private health care institutions, as is the case in other regulated EU countries. Also, in order for healthcare to become a desirable segment of investment, it must be allowed to use the benefits of the Investment Promotion Act, which is not the case now. The global growth of the health and medical tourism industry is estimated at 15-20% per year, and by 2025 it is estimated to be over $ 120 billion.  The specificity of health and medical tourism, ie what puts it in the sphere of real economic activity, is precisely its multiplicity, since it runs many different sectors, and medical tourists spend up to 30% more than traditional tourists. Photo: Sv. Catherine In order to make a new step forward in Croatia and develop health tourism with individual activities and efforts of individual health care institutions, stronger state support is needed, primarily through defining and implementing clear rules that apply equally to all businesses in Croatia. Croatia is just waking up when it comes to medical and health tourism, but it has great potential, because above all we have medical excellence, great doctors, some with an international reputation, and a safe destination, which is crucial. There is a whole market of tourists who adore Croatia, and who probably do not even think of finding a solution to their health problems in Croatia. In their minds, there is no connection between Croatia as a summer destination and Croatia as an affordable solution for obtaining quality health care. It is absurd that out of 19 million foreign tourists who visited Croatia last year, the number of those who came for treatment is at the level of statistical error. The impact on Croatia’s reputation in this synergy of health and tourism is invaluable and it represents a completely different positioning of Croatia in the world, not only related to natural beauty, but also gives it added value based on knowledge. For example, Slovenia and Hungary have long ago privatized or put into public-private function all their health resorts and completely renovated them from EU funds, which was also the recommendation of the European Commission, which strongly advocates public-private partnerships. support for a more efficient private cannot initiate or complete projects. Global changes in this type of tourism are happening extremely fast, so we must not give in to the elements, but we must get involved and know how to deal with them, which means much greater involvement of the state and all other stakeholders than before. If we look at the surrounding countries, I am sure that with a good marketing strategy we can redirect 30% of patients who come to neighboring Hungary or Poland, for example, to Croatia. Let’s not forget that Croatia also has great potential in health tourism. Furthermore, the Croatian National Tourist Board and the Ministry of Tourism already have developed promotion and sales channels, which need to be modernized and adapted to add new facilities and services that the health sector can help them develop. Nothing will happen by itself but precisely because of innovative and creative individuals and companies who listen to what the medical tourism market is looking for and consider how to improve their offering by creating high quality content.  Author: Jadranka Primorac, B.Sc. oec., member of the Management Board of the Special Hospital Sv. Catherinelast_img

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