Live to 100 investigates Croatia’s growing potential for medical tourism.
Croatia—particularly its capital, Zagreb—is quietly establishing itself as a sure destination for high quality health services. Several factors have elevated the country’s medical tourism sector, attracting a diverse clientele from far and wide. what is croatia's appeal to international patients?
Price is perhaps the most obvious incentive for international patients. Rates for cosmetic and medical procedures in Croatia are a fraction of those in the UK and other European countries. Research conducted by CroMedicor—a Croatian medical tourism portal—compared prices in Croatia to those in the UK, Germany, Slovenia and Italy. Specific dental treatments were analysed including dental implants, crowns, dental veneers, tooth whitening and dentures. The UK was identified as the most expensive, followed by Italy, Slovenia and Germany, with prices being the lowest in Croatia. In some instances, fees were 70 percent higher in the UK than Croatia—a very substantial increase.
Rapid progress is being made in a number of medical disciplines in Croatia. A variety of recent achievements in the medical field have granted Croatian health professionals reverence. For instance, a Croatian doctor was appointed to head the medical team for world-renowned football club Real Madrid in 2017. Another noteworthy achievement involved Croatian orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Alan Ivkovic, who recently became the first in the world to use nose cells to repair damaged knee cartilage.
Aside from the high quality of medical expertise, many people are drawn in by the idea of organising a procedure as part of a holiday. Croatia is known for its sunny climate, picturesque islands and rich historical sites—adding to its attraction. Various tourists arrange their medical treatment or procedure and spend their recovery enjoying Croatia’s cultural offerings.
Accessibility is another important aspect that contributes to Croatia’s expanding medical tourism scene. Its geographical location makes it an easy trip from Slovenia, Italy, Austria and Hungary via car. This has prompted numerous tourists from these countries to take advantage of Croatia’s amenities. According to an article published in Total Croatia News in September 2017, Croatia’s dental tourism is especially popular with Italians. Buses travelling to Istria and Rijeka allow Italian natives to pop over easily for dental surgery. As a result, various clinics have required expansion, ‘with one Rijeka clinic now employing an astonishing 120 dentists’, according to the article. Similarly, budget airlines have also added to the country’s convenience. Its Adriatic airports in Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Rijeka and Pula are reportedly experiencing record collective air traffic.
An impressive €330 million was invested in erecting a new terminal at Zagreb airport in March 2017. This prompted international airlines such as Emirates and Qatar Airways to dramatically increase flight paths to Zagreb—connecting profitable Asian and Middle Eastern markets to this area of the world