All Croatian Medical Tourism Roads Lead to Crikvenica at CIHT 2022

Total Croatia News

Updated on:

it is 5 years since Croatian entrepreneur and medical tourism trailblazer, Ognjen Bagatin, invited me to his office at Poliklinika Bagatin in Zagreb to introduce me to a world of Croatian excellence that I knew nothing about  – its medical tourism industry. After a tour of Bagatin, Svjetlost Eye Clinic, and St Catherine’s Speciality Hospital, I was left stunned. Here was a Croatian industry of global excellence that few people knew anything about. The first of many articles I have written about the Croatian medical tourism industry came out a few days later – Health Tourism is Coming Home: Why Zagreb is the Next Big Medical Tourism Destination

But while Bagatin was performing miracles in Zagreb (it was an honour to be in Berlin to see him lift the Best International Cosmetic Surgery Clinic in the world at the International Medical Travel Journal awards in December 2019), it did not take me long to realise that the real capital of the Croatian medical tourism industry was on the coast in the Kvarner region, powered by an active and very organised Kvarner Health Tourism Cluster. 

The flagship event of the cluster’s calendar is the annual Crikvenica International Health Tourism conference, which will take place for its Jubiliee 10th edition, when CIHT 2022 kicks off later this week (full progamme below).  I first attended back in 2018, when I was blown away by the quality of the very international field of speakers and participants. TCN interviews from that first event included keynote speakers Keith Pollard, Editor of International Medical Travel Journal, and Sherene Azli, the charismatic CEO of Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council, which was voted soonafter the best medical tourism destination in the world. 


The lineup for CIHT 2022 is s fantastic as ever, and with a little more celebratory spice to mark the tenth anniversary. We will be following this year’s conference here at TCN – next up an indepth interview with one of the keynote speakers and long-time friend of CIHT, global branding expert, Ilan Geva. You can find the schedule below, and there are still tickets available via the official CIHT 2022 website here.

Wednesday, 19th of October 2022

Workshop I

17:00 – 18:00

Thursday, 20th of October 2022

Opening ceremony and welcome speeches

09:30 – 10:00

Part I – New, Newer and the Newest in Health Tourism  

10:00 – 11:30

  1. Irving Stackpole, President, Stackpole & Associates, Inc., USA „The Hybrid Future of Medical Tourism“
  2. Mario Škugor, M.D. FACE, Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine CCLCM of CWRU and Director of Education, Cleveland Clinic, USA „Patient experience in Cleveland Clinic“
  3. Elizabeth Ziemba, JD, MPH, President & Founder, Medical Tourism Training, USA „“Accessible” Tourism: The Markets Hidden in Plain Sight. Why investing in accessible travel offers a ROI that also expands tourism, wellness, dental & medical tourism markets.“
  4. Maria Jukić, JD, Senior Director, Arts & Medicine Institute, Cleveland Clinic, USA „The Arts as Treatment and Differentiator in Healthcare“

11:30-12:00 – Break


  1. Prim. Vlasta Brozičević, M.D. specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation, rheumatology, Department Head and member of the Board, Polyclinic Terme, Croatia
  2. Danijel Premuš, MD, Cardiology specialist, Thalassotherapia Opatija, Croatia
  3. Pero Kuterovac, Conditional and strength coach, Croatia
  4. Martina Linarić, PHD, Owner, Center for Nutrition and Holistic Approach to Health, NutriMarLIn, Croatia

13:00-13:15 – Break

Part II – Health and Health Industry: Investment and Development

13:15 – 15:00

  1. Joško Brkić, Global Brand Manager, JGL d.d., Croatia „Investing, Adapting, Thriving“
  2. Stjepan Orešković, PHD, Scientist and entrepreneur, M+ Group, Croatia „Entrepreneurship in healthcare“
  3. Igor Čičak, CEO & Managing Partner, Provectus Capital Partners, Croatia „PROVECTUS CAPITAL PARTNERS (PCP): Leading growth capital investment firm in South East Europe“
  4. Slavko Štefičar, Director, General for Sustainable Development and Competitiveness of Tourist Destinations at Ministry of Tourism and Sport, Croatia „Possibilities of financing the development of health tourism in the Republic of Croatia“
  5. Mario Ravić, Head of IoT & Digital Health, Ericsson NikolaTesla d.d., Croatia „Internet of things in health tourism journey – quantify it all“

15:00-17:00 – Lunch

17:00 – 18:00 Workshop II – Careers in Health Travel

by Elizabeth Ziemba and Irving Stackpole

20:00 Gala dinner with a presentation of awards in recognition of personal/institutional contribution to the development of health tourism in Croatia

Friday, 21st of October 2022

Part III – Medical Tourism and Patient Expectations 

10:00 – 11:30

  1. Sandeep Sharma, Executive Director & Global Lead, Vmarsh Healthcare, UAE „The changed patient experience post pandemic – The global yet local insight“
  2. Ilan Geva, President, Ilan Geva & Friends Inc. and Director of Strategy and U.S. office head, Vmarsh Healthcare, USA „Thoughts of market penetration strategies for healthcare and wellness operators“
  3. Ognjen Bagatin, Owner and CEO, Polyclinic Sinteza, Croatia „The patient will see you now – what UX and UI can teach us about anticipating patients expectations“
  4. Marek Holowko, CEO & Co-Founder, Clinic Hunter, Poland, „How to increase conversion rate – best practices and tips
  5. Miroslav Varga, Google certified trainer, Escape Ltd., Croatia „Patients are people. Do we know people?“

11:30 – 12:00 – Break

Part IV – Natural Healing Factors and Health Tourism 

12:00 – 13:30

  1. Marijana Biondić, Director, Crikvenica Tourist Board, Croatia „From natural healing factors to one of the best health tourism destinations in Croatia“
  2. Assist. prof. Vladimir Mozetič, MD, PHD, MHA, President, Kvarner Health Tourism Cluster, Croatia „From clustering to the region of health and wellbeing“
  3. Ministry of AYUSH, India
  4. Simone Zagrodnik, Executive Director, European Historic Thermal Towns Association, Germany, „“Thermal Travels” – Spa Towns as Places of Health, Wellbeing and Culture

13:30 – 15:00 – Lunch

15:00 – 19:00 Additional activities


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment