"Health tourism is the fastest-growing segment of the tourism industry, growing annually at a rate of 15 to 20 per cent. In this segment, Croatia has an exceptionally strong resource base and a rich tradition. It is a product that is not related to the sun and the sea, and which as such strongly influences the extension of the tourist season, both on the coast and on the continent. I'm sure of the positive effects of the ESPA conference that brought together many foreign experts who will exchange good practices with their Croatian counterparts when it comes to this kind of tourist offer," said director of Croatian National Tourist Board Kristjan Staničić.
According to a summer 2017 survey, 7 per cent of tourists visited Croatia motivated by health reasons.
“Croatia needs to strengthen its infrastructure and encourage the linking of public and private entities, create content and products, since we have all the geographical, natural and professional conditions needed”
“Croatia has the tradition, skills and knowledge, many natural healing remedies and tourism capacities needed for development of health tourism. We have all the prerequisites to become a serious health destination on the European and world map of health tourism. Croatia needs to strengthen the infrastructure and encourage the linking of public and private entities, create content and products, since we have all the geographical, natural and professional conditions needed,” said Ivana Kolar, co-organiser of the event and tourism advisor.
A press trip followed the congress over four days and saw us visit the best Croatian health tourism stakeholders and clinics in Zagreb, Krapina-Zagorje County in northwest part of the country and Kvarner region on the coast. Here is a summary:
Zagreb is a large city that has managed to stay romantic and safe. While there are unlimited possibilities for visiting music and theatre events, art exhibitions, museums, sporting events, people can still enjoy pleasant walks, interesting architecture, plentiful parks in the centre of the city, pedestrian zones and the atmosphere.
Bagatin Clinic in Zagreb is the leading clinic in Croatia and Europe for the highest level of services in the fields of aesthetic surgery, dentistry and dermatology and for professional development. The clinic was founded in 1995 and today they bind together the professionalism and sophistication of a medical institution with an emphasis on health and beauty, all with the help of doctors specialised in nine different specialties and medical cosmetologists, nurses and technicians. They offer a wide range of services and an individualised approach, which makes them a unique medical institution in the region.
Eye Clinic Svjetlost is the regional leader in diagnosis, therapy and all types of eye surgery to correct dioptre and other vision problems. The clinic was awarded the ophthalmology Oscar (Videocatarattarefrattiva Milano 2015) as well as international awards for quality, namely ‘Best Hospital’ (European Business Assembly) and ‘Quality Choice Prize’ (ESQR). The quality of care is guaranteed by 40 expert ophthalmologists of the Svjetlost group, who use the most advanced technology in the group’s Croatian Zagreb and Split centres.
Special Hospital for Medical Rehabilitation in Krapinske Toplice, is a modern hospital that provides special rehabilitation of patients with cardiac, neurological, rheumatic and orthopaedic diseases, and rehabilitation of children. Special Hospital for Medical Rehabilitation Krapinske Toplice is equipped with the latest medical diagnostics devices used for providing treatments and for monitoring further treatment’s outcomes. Medical programmes are based on the synergy of natural medical agents application with all available the latest physical medicine and rehabilitation treatments.
Special Hospital for Orthopaedic Surgery in Akromion is the largest private orthopaedic hospital in the Croatia, occupying a total of 2000 square metres on three floors. A new surgery wing with three operating rooms and a post anaesthesia care unit has been built, while the ground floor, the second floor and the attic have been completely renewed. Operating rooms are equipped with the most advanced equipment. The ward consists of 11 rooms – three single rooms, six double rooms, and two suites. Each room has a bathroom and a toilet, plus each room is equipped with a TV set and an internet connection, which ensures a maximum comfort for patients.
For rest and restoration, head to Zagorje, an oasis of preserved nature, greenery, clean air and mild, healing thermal waters just 40 km away from the capital Zagreb. The area offers picturesque hills and a whole range of thermal resorts, castles, Roman roads, agro tourism, museums, churches, walking, riding and cycling paths.
Kvarner is an ecologically unpolluted area, rich in cultural and historic heritage, with brilliant tourist programmes and opportunities for active holidays. Kvarner region brings a combination of sea, islands and highlands in an exceptionally small space: in just one day you can sail by yacht or bathe in the sea and then enjoy in the shadow of the near-by woods in the hinterland. In winter you can ski with a view of the sea and then enjoy, just a few kilometres away, in a salt-water swimming pool, in relaxing wellness treatments or in long walks by the sea.
Thalassotherapy Crikvenica is a medical centre with in Kvarner region with a centuries-old tradition of healthcare in the application of thalassotherapy for the purpose of health prevention, medical-oriented rest and rehabilitation. The location on the crystal-clear sea bay, the pebble beach and the 6km long promenade in the park of Mediterranean greenery, is ideal for thalassotherapy, recovery and rest. Thalassotherapy is a modern medical institution that links the principles of wart therapy with the achievements of modern medicine, thus achieving outstanding results in the treatment of organ and motion sickness disorders.
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