Croatia is now known worldwide as a destination for Medical Tourism for dental care due to massive flows coming mainly from Italy and neighboring countries such as Austria or Germany. But something is changing: with the support of institutions, investment from the Government and the relevant ministries and the commitment of companies like REXREA, leader of the medical sector in Croatia for more than 20 years, the country aims to become more and more a destination for excellence in health, offering high specializations at competitive prices.

How? Illustrates Maja Rendulic, CEO of RexRea.

Croatia is now mostly known as a dental care destination. Why is it so and what are its assets in this specialty?

“When we talk about dental care we are talking about tradition of more than 20 years that was born in Istria, the region closest to Italy where Italians were guests during yearby combine work with vacation. Dental care is a constant concern for each person, and in Croatia, where there is a range of high quality at competitive prices; the public can combine the pleasure of tourism with responsibility for health. Away from Istria, tourists from Italy more and more also visit the capital of Croatia, Zagreb, which has grown rapidly in terms of tourism (the preparations for the Advent in Zagreb were named the best in Europe for the second year in a row). So in addition to arrivals for medical care, tourists have familiarized with the continental part of Croatia, which has a lot to offer. Croatia also has a large number of thermal spas that are among the favorite destination for Italian tourists. Among them: Istarske Spa in Istria, Bizovacke in the region of Osijek, Tuheljske Spa, Spa Stubicke, Krapinske Spa, Spa Topusko near Zagreb, or St. Martin Resort and Varazdinske Spa in the northwest of Croatia. A short distance from Zagreb there is also Naftalan, known for its sources of rare and powerful natural therapeutic agents – therapeutic naphthalene oil and thermal mineral water – is the second largest site of its kind in the world and the only one in Europe.”

Are there other specialties or approaches that Croatia wants to promote in the Medical Tourism?

“The Intercare fair is an excellent opportunity to present the Croatian offer of medical services, include orthopedics and rehabilitation, ophthalmology, plastic surgery, cosmetic surgery, transplants. Among the unique centers of excellence we can mention Naftalan, the only European hospital specializing in the treatment of psoriasis, neurodermatitis and rheumatic diseases through the use of this rare type of natural mineral oil. Or Akromion, the largest private orthopaedic clinic in Croatia, primarily focused on reconstruction of the joints, which is one of the leading clinics of European sports. Akromion, the largest private orthopaedic clinic in Croatia, provides all medical services in the field of orthopaedics and traumatology, such as: shoulder, knee, ankle and elbow arthroscopy, artificial joint, hip, knee and shoulder implant. Reconstructive surgery of all joints, and treating fractures and their consequences, it is one of the leading clinics of athletes with Olympic medals as Ivica Kostelic skier, Ivano Balic handball, Sara Kolak javelin thrower, Filip Ude gymnast Mario Ancic tennis and many other players. St Catherine in Zabok, awarded best private hospital in Croatia, specializes in orthopedics, surgery, internal medicine, neurology and physical medicine and rehabilitation, is the partner with institutions such as the Carolinas Pain Institute (USA), Unfallkrankenhaus Berlin and RegioMed KLINIKEN (Germany), working with teaching universities in Split, Rijeka and Osijek. It is also a European center of excellence that has the most advanced infrastructure in the diagnostic field, therapy and rehabilitation. In 2015 it also received the International Certification Association (ICERTIAS).”

How would like to be perceived Croatia in the coming years?

“Croatia is already among the top 20 tourist destinations in the world. Now we face the challenge of becoming the premier destination for Excellence in Medical Tourism. And we think to succeed by offering high quality services, developing health infrastructure and maintaining affordable prices.”

The Medical Tourism is one of the strategic guidelines issued by the Croatian government to develop tourism in the coming years. Is important that institutional commitment to develop the entire Croatia as a medical destination?

“It is vital that Medical Tourism has the support of the Government of Croatia and both of its Ministries, Health and Tourism. An action plan for the development of Medical Tourism in Croatia has been implemented by the aforementioned Ministries, throughout the process, change the legislation, define the marketing and communications strategy to support rapid growth of Medical tourism in Croatia and promote it successfully all over the world. But more than anything else is important to have patients by our closest neighbors, who already love us as a tourist destination, help them identify our wide range of medical services and plan their visits to Croatia to preserve their health.”

How RexRea was born and what is its mission?

“RexRea has been operating for over 20 years, primarily in the insurance market and, specifically, health insurance. Keeping in mind that the medical tourism is present in Croatia for more than 20 years in the form that we know it today, and also knowing that the Ministry of Tourism has given strong support to this sector, RexRea has identified the need for a more targeted approach in foreign markets with the aim to promote the medical services offered in Croatia. In the portfolio of RexRea medical providers, we have the most prestigious Croatian clinics, mostly private structures, which we look forward to present to potential partners and visitors from Italy. Italy has borders with Croatia and we have always had Italians among our favorite guests. I believe that Italians love our country for its stunning coastline and great food and I am just as sure that similar mindset unites us. When we speak of modern tourism, we can definitely mention that Italians were among the first guests to come in Dalmatia in the early 60s. This tradition remains strong even today and statistics show that approximately 1.5 million Italians are in Croatia for the holidays every year. The tourist tradition incoming from Italy is now even stronger, thanks to the medical tourism services in Croatia.  And the story continues.”

RexRea is one of the exhibitors at the Intercare and presents some Croatian clinics of excellence. Maja Redulic will also be a speaker at the round table “The Italian Patient of Medical Tourism: a portrait” scheduled May 25th from 17.00 to 18.00.


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