November 24, 2018 – The popularity and success of Advent in Zagreb is providing new opportunities in other sectors of Croatian tourism, with Bagatin Clinic the first to link it to Croatia’s huge dental tourism potential.
Writing about Croatian tourism is a little like watching Real Madrid play at times. A group of world-class individuals who often cannot come together and transfer all that individual talent into something cohesive for the team. And then, on occasion, when it does happen, it is like watching poetry in motion.
Croatia has some exceptional tourism superstars, which if properly coached and encouraged, could catapult the country towards its goal of becoming a year-round destination. Among these areas I would include gastro-tourism (it is six years since the late Anthony Bourdain was blown away by the ‘world class food’, ‘world class wine’ and ‘world class cheese’), and medical tourism.
Croatia also has some great and innovative tourism success stories, none more so than Advent in Zagreb, an event which barely existed just a few years ago, but one which has been voted the best Christmas market in Europe for the last three years running. Zagreb was hardly on the tourism map at all ten years ago, especially in December, and yet this year’s Advent will once again welcome hundreds of thousands of tourists to the Croatian capital.
Advent in Zagreb, another Real Madrid superstar of the Croatian tourism scene. Apart from the tourism experience that Advent in Zagreb brings for the city itself, it is also an opportunity for those other tourism sectors to link up with the welcome surge of winter tourism traffic. Nowhere is this truer than the Croatian medical tourism industry, which operates 12 months of the year, and whose excellence in the fields of dentistry, cosmetic surgery, eye surgery, dermatology and stem cell therapy is well-documented (learn more with 25 things to know about Croatian health tourism). Croatia is currently the only place in Europe where one can take the innovative new Mayo Clinic OneMed RightMed pharmacogenetic test.
Croatia has some 18 million tourists annually. If just 1% of those pre-planned to get their teeth, eyes or some cosmetic surgery, that would be 180,000 patients a year for the Croatian medical tourism industry. And industry experts agree on the potential of Croatian medical tourism. In a recent interview with TCN, Keith Pollard, Editor in Chief of International Medical Travel Journal, the industry’s leading publication, said that Croatia could take 25% of the Hungarian dental tourism market ‘if Croatia really got its act together’. The Hungarians are the regional leaders in playing together to develop the industry, something Croatia could aspire to – Pollard said that the quality of the dentistry in both countries is essentially the same.
Leading clinic Bagatin is, I think, the first to link Advent in Zagreb with dental tourism this week, encouraging Zagreb’s foreign tourists to visit their clinic while they are visiting Zagreb’s famous Christmas market. Bagatin is offering free consultations to foreign guests and also has the capacity to deal with the dental work at short notice, so the chance to come to Croatia for an Advent experience and leave with a brand new smile – the savings of which more than fund the entire trip – is a concept that more tourists will be investigating as word about Croatian healthcare and tourism combinations continues to spread. One man who can vouch for this winning formula is an American called Carl, whose dental experience at last year’s Advent in Zagreb was not only the trip of a lifetime, but also quite literally life-changing. It is probably the best Croatian tourism promotion story I have ever read, and certainly a heartwarming tale. Read Carl’s story here. To learn more about dental treatment at Bagatin Clinic, which will be opening a clinic in Split early next year to cater to the huge tourism market in the Dalmatian capital, click here.
While affordability and excellent care are two of the cornerstones of the Croatian medical tourism industry, so too is speed. In Carl’s case, above, the prescribed work back in the United States was planned over a two-year period, while he got a completely new mouth in just 10 days in Zagreb last winter. With a little forward planning, the chance exists to get all required dental care done over the holiday period, while still enjoying the magical festive atmosphere. And the medical options are not restricted to dental tourism. Croatia has, among others, outstanding eye laser surgery through pioneering clinic Svjetlost. As previously written, Svjetost produces major savings as well as very quick treatment, including one example of an Italian patient who underwent FemtoLASIK surgery on both eyes. The procedure was entirely painless, took 5 minutes per eye, and the patient was free to travel with perfect vision after a check-up 24 hours later. The cost of the surgery in Italy? About 6,500 euro, compared to 1,700 in Croatia.
Advent in Zagreb and medical tourism in Croatia – two Real Madrid stars in Croatia who are beginning to gel together, a partnership which will bring benefits to all.
To follow the latest from the Croatian medical tourism scene, follow TCN’s dedicated coverage here.