Posts on Jun 2015

Medical Tourism

Croatia Eyes Lucrative Future in Medical Tourism

Croatia aims to invest more money in spas, health centres and wellness centres – to enable the tourism industry to expand beyond its traditional offering of beach holidays on the coast.

In a bid to further develop Croatian tourism, the government has started to work on an action plan to develop medical tourism in the country.

According to the envisioned action plan, the government will invest around 80 million euro from EU funds to renew existing health resorts. The Tourism Ministry has made preliminary calculations that medical services could earn the country another 106 million euro annually.

Croatia is already known for quality wellness spas and other forms of medical tourism but laws need changing in order to enable private entrepreneurs  to enter the market more fully.

Currently, spas and health resorts have to set aside part of their capacity for public health requirements, while the commercial parts are often under-used.

Setting a new ratio between public and commercial capacities will be one of the biggest tasks, and will involve talks with unions of workers from the public health system.

An additional task is to develop medical tourism outside the traditional peak tourist season in July and August.

Currently, medical tourism is concentrated in wellness tourism – 80 hotels and wellness centres – health resorts  – 15 special hospitals and health resorts – and purely medical tourism  – in large hospital centres and private clinics.

Most of these spas and helath centres are located on the Istrian peninsula, on the northern Adriatic coast, in the north and in the capital Zagreb.

Besides spas, health resorts and wellness centres, medical tourism involves the offer of other medical services, such as aesthetical surgery and dental treatment.

Croatia wants to develop its medical tourism in order to compete with neighbouring Slovenia and Hungary whose thermal spas are popular among medical tourists from all over Europe.

Tourism is an important industry for Croatia, generating 7.4 billion euro in 2014, which was 17.2 per cent of its annual GDP. Although figures grew by 2.8 per cent in 2014 compared with 2013, they are still below the figures recorded at the pre-recession peak of 2008.

Sven Milekic

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Tourism Croatia

Sun Continues to Shine on Croatian Tourism

Croatia on Wednesday said it earned almost a record 7.4 billion euro from tourism in 2014, which was up on the figures from 2013 – and not far from the all-time high of 2008.


Figures published by the Croatian national bank, HNB, show Croatia earned a healthy 7.4 billion euro from tourism in 2014, which was 2.8 per cent better than the figures for 2013.

Tourism now makes up 17.2 per cent of Croatia’s annual GDP, which was 0.6 per cent more than in 2013. The latest figures are close to the record pre-recession year of 2008, when the country earned 7.46 billion euro.

Of the total income, 7.2 billion euro was generated from trips made for personal purposes, which was 231 million euro or 3.3 per cent more than in 2013 and 135 million euro or 2 per cent more than in 2008.

Another 194 million euro came from business trips. This figure has been in constant decline since 2005, when it was around 500 million euro.

Tourism minister Darko Lorencin expressed his satisfaction with the income earned in 2014 and said the results of the government’s work were now being seen, especially in the good results for the low season, outside high summer.

“The results make me extremely happy because it is proven that tourism policy is moving in the right direction and that Croatia is becoming a more competitive, more interesting and more demanded international destination,” he concluded.

Tourism has long been a major part of the Croatian economy, bringing a vital amount of cash into the state budget.

The industry is mostly is concentrated on the Adriatic coastal resorts, around the Roman and medieval cities of Zadar, Trogir, Split, Dubrovnik as well as the islands.

Lately, however, the continental towns, including the capital, Zagreg, have drawn more visitors.

With the onset of the recession in 2008, income from tourism fell in 2009 and 2010, but it started to bounce back from then on.


Sven Milekic

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New hotel croatia investment

Boom in New Hotels on Croatia’s Adriatic Coast

Some 25 new or completely refurbished hotels are due to open this summer on the Croatian Adriatic coast as a result of a sustained period of investment in the sector.

Around 25 new or completely redesigned hotels will open for the upcoming summer season along the Croatian Adriatic coast.

Croatian and foreign tourism companies have invested billions of Croatian kuna in hotels lately, far more than was invested in the last decade.

When it comes to the total number of tourists they accommodate, Croatian hotels still currently accommodate only 32.7 per cent of tourists to the country.

In other developed European tourist destinations, the figures are much higher. In France, it is 49.9 per cent, in Spain, 73.5 per cent, in Italy, 67.6 per cent, and in Greece, 76.3 per cent.

Tourism minister Darko Lorencin said sustained investment in the Croatian hotel industry was starting to bear fruit.

“The large number of new hotels opening this summer is partly a result of two years of investment in the sector… which started in 2013 with a total of 230 million euro to last year’s figure of almost 410 million euro,” Lorencin said.

“It all shows that Croatia is on the rise in terms of tourism, and there is no stagnation in terms of investment,” he added.

The minister said the authorities were aim to attract new investors into real estate on the coast, which has been in decay for decades since Yugoslavia dissolved in the 1990s.

The second biggest company in hotel industry, Valamar Riviera, will be opening its Isabella Island Resort on a small isle next to the town of Porec on the western Istrian peninsula, in which it has invested around 33 million euro.

HUP Zagreb, also amongst biggest hotel companies in Croatia, has invested around 40 million euro in hotels, opening two new ones in the region of Dubrovnik on the south of the Adriatic coast.

According to the tourism ministry, there are 620 registered hotels in Croatia with 104,000 beds and 20 apartment hotels with an additional 1,400 beds.

Croatia earned 7.4 billion euro in 2014 from tourism, which accounted for 17.2 per cent of its annual GDP. Although figures for 2014 grew by 2.8 per cent when compared with 2013, the figures are still down from their pre-recession high in 2008.


Sven Milekic BIRN Zagreb


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