Ministers push for development of health tourism

ZAGREB, 13.3.2014.

Much has been done in the development of Croatia's health tourism in the last two years and this sector, with high potential and growing at the annual rate of 15-20% in the world, should start developing at a greater speed in Croatia, it was said at the start of the fourth international conference on medical tourism in Zagreb on Thursday.

Addressing the event, which brought together about 200 foreign and local participants, Health Minister Rajko Ostojic said that more and more opportunities were now being created for the development of medical tourism, which had been neglected for some time due to inappropriate legislation and the lack of will to enhance this form of tourist trade.

Ostojic said that all parts of Croatia, including seaside destinations and spas, health resorts and other destinations in the interior, could provide conditions for developing medical tourism.

The Health Ministry is working on elaborating a network of specialised hospitals, including spas, some of which may be privatised.

Tourism Minister Darko Lorencin also spoke about the importance of legislative regulations for medical tourism that can contribute to the operation of hotels and tourism facilities not only in the peak season but throughout the year.

Lorencin said that his ministry would work on selection of a score of destinations throughout Croatia that may be ready, thanks to their tourist offer and infrastructure, to cater for tourists both in the high and low seasons, which would help dynamise destinations and turnover, attracting guests who will seek medical and wellness opportunities.

The two ministers are agreed that health tourism can also offer opportunities for investments and employment.

The conference was organised by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and the UT-Ugostiteljstvo magazine.