What would be the impact of Covid-19 on health travel in Croatia? Like the rest of the world, Croatia had significantly fewer visitors this year. Yet, but there is still some good news to keep in mind. Following recent UNWTO findings, 80% of European travelers will choose Europe as a destination, 40% of them travel by car, and 27% of trips are motivated by family visits, health, and religion. The ETC announced that over 50% of Europeans plan to travel within six months, 80% will stay in Europe, and for 35% of Europeans, health and safety are decisive factors. Besides, Travel Consul pointed out
that destinations’ health & safety certificates are highly important for 74% of travelers.
Looking carefully at the findings, they could all have a positive impact on health travel in Croatia. Its tradition goes back to Roman thermal baths, 19 th century’s climatic health resorts, and a hundred- year-old medical school. The country’s most wanted health care expertise already includes relaxation, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and dental services. Tourists predominantly arrive by road, and 50% of health travelers visited the country six times or more. Patients express a high level of satisfaction with professional services, primarily with the medical segment.
Following the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index 2019, Croatia is placed 27 th out of 140 countries, showing a high ranking in infrastructure, environmental sustainability, natural resources, and health & hygiene. Based on the Zagreb Tourism Institute research data, HTI calculated that approximately 900,000 arrivals are motivated by health, including wellness, thermal spas, and medical segment. It counts day-visitors usually coming over for dental services and secondary wellness and spa guests. Kvarner and Zagorje are the leading health tourism regions.
What makes the Croatian health tourism offer already so desirable in the post-Covid times to come? First, its healthy lifestyle and clean environment: scientifically proven healing remedies range from thalassotherapy and thermal springs to mild climate and 250 sunshine days, Mediterranean food proclaimed (the healthiest in the world by UNESCO), no-stress lifestyle, high safety and the commitment to “go green” on many levels. What else? Digital health development is backed up by successful tech companies and a few “unicorns” leading the way to innovative digital solutions: chatbots, wearables, patient pathway mobile apps, online booking, and consultations. Another opportunity relates to digital nomads who will be legally welcome as of 2021. A local medical clinic already announced its services free of charge to digital nomads in Dubrovnik. Other similar initiatives are yet to come, thus becoming a great marketing tool in attracting digital nomads and spreading the voice about Croatian healthcare services’ quality. These and other exciting topics were discussed at the recently held CIHT Conference; you are invited to learn more at https://ciht.com.hr/