Health tourism to extend Croatia’s tourist season

 

Health tourism is a great opportunity for Croatia to extend the tourist season, increase its off-season services and attract higher spending tourists.

Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) and the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) are jointly working on the development and promotion of health tourism, and this year investments worth €7.5 million are expected in that sector.

The development of health tourism as a year-round business is included in the Croatian Tourism Development Strategy until 2020, and health tourists spend between 20% and 30% more than the average foreign tourist.

Ana Klarić of HGK says current annual income to Croatia is €60 million in spa tourism and €240 million in medical tourism. People visiting Croatia for spa and medical tourism stay an average of 13 days in the country and most of them come from Germany, Slovenia, Austria and Italy. They mostly come for dental services and cosmetic surgery.

HTZ director Kristjan Staničić says health tourism would grow considerably in the future and Croatia could be competitive in this sector. Health tourism does not depend on the sun and sea and could help extend the tourist season, both along the Adriatic coast and in continental Croatia.

HTX says that according to the TOMAS Summer 2017 survey, 7% of tourists visiting Croatia do so for health reasons and 8% visit spas. Croatia had 16.5 million foreign tourists and 19.7 million in 2018, so applying these figures would give almost 250,000 health and medical tourists in 2017 and almost 300,000 in 2018.

IMTJ believes these figures require further scrutiny. An EU report says Croatia had 130,000 health tourists in 2017 and local estimates put medical tourism numbers at 45,000.

For further analysis of the medical travel sector in Croatia, visit the IMTJ Country Profile.

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