Health tourism on the Hungary/Croatia borders

 

An EU funded project, ‘The Role of Health Tourism in Improving the Competitive Strength of the Rural Areas in Hungary and Croatia’ is a trans-border project that aims to define factors necessary for the improvement of the competitive strength of the rural trans-border area through health tourism. The research results will be available soon.

In cooperation with experts from the Institute for Tourism, REDEA is in charge of implementing the research that aims to present the situation and potential for the development of health tourism in Croatian and Hungarian regions near the border. On the Croatian side, the project relates to Medimurska, Viroviticko-Podravska and Koprivnicko-Krizevacka counties. In Hungary the three border counties are Zala, Somogy and Baranya. The Regional Development Agency (REDEA) aids the development of Međimurska County through activities related to small and medium-sized entrepreneurship.

Health tourism is one of the oldest types of tourism in Croatia. It is the use of comparative natural and healing advantages arising out of the climate, with the purpose of maintaining and improving health and quality of life. The basis of health tourism is the use of natural healing factors that can come from the sea, spa, or climate. Geothermal sources are an extremely important resource in Hungary, so health tourism is also important there. The social impact of health tourism on the standard of living, employment and education will be determined.

The general aim is to determine the importance of health tourism in the competitive strength of the rural areas in the border area, and to identify key success factors. Specific aims include- investigating investments, subsidies and support in the health tourism of the border area; evaluating the role of companies in health tourism and health institutions in the region. It also seeks to create an IT platform and trans-border network of Croatian and Hungarian health tourism institutions with an exchange of ideas, and a debate on development plans.

Expected results include:
•    Research on the local authorities, companies, medical staff, tourists and the local population in health tourism.
•    Research on best practices.
•    IT platforms with presentations and interactive maps.
•    A new network of Croatian and Hungarian experts in health tourism on the border area.
•    Conferences and workshops.
•    Identification of success factors, needs and capacity of health tourism in the border area.
•    Impact of investments in the border area on the population.
•    Creation of a transborder network of health tourism.
•    Identifying investments into the development of health tourism; entrepreneurs, companies and institutions (hotels, spas, regional and local administration, hospitals) that are in some way connected to health tourism.

As well as health tourism, the two countries are well established in dental tourism. Dental tourism is crucial for Hungary's economy, generating 227million Euros in revenue each year according to Viktor Orban, Hungarian prime minister. Health tourism, especially spa and dental tourism is to receive special attention with the Hungarian government planning support worth 117 million Euros.

Many dental surgeries across Hungary welcome the news of governmental support. Hungarian Dental Travel, a long-established UK based independent dental trip organiser only works with surgeries, which pass their on-going quality controls and live up to British dental patients long-term expectations. The company has just added Dr Salman, whose dental surgery is in the center of Budapest, and who speaks Arabic and English.

The proprietor of Harley Street's Milo Clinic, Dr Nick Milojevic, has opened a new surgery in his home country, Croatia, which will offer safe, expert cosmetic procedures at a fraction of the cost of equivalent treatment in the UK. Dr Milojevic is now offering a Harley Street standard service in Croatia, taking the worry out of seeking procedures outside Britain.

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