ACAP Presenting Croatian Medical Tourism Potential to Diaspora, US Market

Total Croatia News

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September 25, 2019 – Last week’s ACAP diaspora conference in Cleveland was another step forward for Croatia’s medical tourism industry. TCN catches up with Ognjen Bagatin, who moderated the medical tourism panel. 

The big news, of course, we have already published – an agreement of cooperation between Bagatin Clinic and Cleveland Clinic, which will result in Europe’s first Patient Experience conference to be held in Dubrovnik in March – organised by Bagatin with presentation by Cleveland Clinic. You can read more about that here


Ognjen Bagatin, the main driving force to establish Croatia’s medical tourism industry on the global stage, is just back from the ACAP conference in Cleveland, and we had time to catch up at yesterday’s Croatia 365 conference at the Zagreb Sheraton, where he gave me an overview of the medical tourism panel which was a key component of the Cleveland conference. 

Bagatin stated that there were two main goals:

⦁ Show the American Croatian society in US that Croatia has a great potential in this area, but also that we have points of excellence in some area of medicine and attracting large number of international patients/clients (Kvarner, Zagreb, Split) in areas of dental, orthopedic and rehabilitation, aesthetic surgery and non invasive aesthetic treatments, ophthalmology and medical wellness.

⦁ We shared there is opportunities for ACAP members (there are 1400 of them) for investments and getting involved in market development in Croatia, and that now is the right time to invest. This is an emerging market (just like tourism was 20 years ago)  

Our panelist shared success stories from the field and in different sectors:

Mate Car, Phd, assistant minister have shared that the legal framework is done, which means safety for investors, and that Ministry of Health is working on a working group to work on EU funding for next phase of EU funding – 2021-2027.

Marcel Medak, president of HGK health tourism group (and the director of Bizovacke Toplice), shared that now is the right time to invest because there will be an opportunity to invest in public speciality hospitals that are going to be presented soon for investors. This is a big opportunity for investors. Also he mentioned that his rehabilitation clinics had a 30% increase of foreign patients this year and that they are expecting the further growth in the future.

Marinko Rade, MD, Phd, awarded scientist and director of public orthopedic and rehabilitation hospital in Rovinj, shared that every year the Austrians insurance is raisng the quantity of people who they send to their clinics and that they are planning to invest 17 mil $ into further development of their hospital and health tourism in Rovinj. He is a young leader that we need to keep in Croatia.

Vladimir Mozetic, MD, Phd, shared info about Kvarner Cluster and what did they have been doing as a cluster in the last 5 years. Kvarner has 85,000 foreign patients every year, and 80% of them are for dental services. He was sharing how you can succeed with clusterization and branding yourself as a destination of health. He also shared that if you come one week in Losinj you will extend your life for 1 year, so come and try it.

Last but not least, an ACAP member Jeana Havidich, anesthesiologist from Dartmouth Hitchcock medical center, shared that together with TUCK Dartmouth MBA students she will do a project for developing Health and medical tourism in Croatia.  Tuck Dartmouth InSight Global consulting program and Kerry Laufer (project leader) are coming to Croatian in Fall 2019.   They really have done a phenomenal job and made a solid reputation within the international business community.   This is a huge thing for Croatia because their project are featured in Delta magazine throughout of USA.

We also shared why Croatia has a great potential and it is because we already have a market:

⦁ >20 mil. tourist in last two years

⦁ 7% of them are health motivated (according to TOMAS research)

⦁ The private health sector is growing 12-15 % every year

⦁ The industry of health and medical tourism will have an annual growth of 15-20% which is amazing  


(Ognjen Bagatin, left, with Cleveland Clinic CEO and fellow Croat, Tom Mihaljevic).

To follow the latest from the Croatian medical tourism story, follow the dedicated TCN section

To learm more about Bagatin Clinic, click here.


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