Marcel Medak: Croatia has the opportunity to brand itself as a health destination

first_img“Private entities operating in the open market and financing their business exclusively from sales activities depend on the quality of their services, communication with the market and their innovation, which motivates them to continuous development and is the only long-term sustainable business model. It is necessary to soften the borders between special hospitals, rehabilitation and wellness centers in order to approach European standards of health tourism and provide guests with a richer service.”, Said Kolar, and Medak agrees with her, who believes that such regulations bring more transparent business, a simpler tax policy and a simpler process of hiring employees.   Adviser to the Management Board of Terme Tuhelj Ivana Kolar considers that the Law enabling the registration of economic activity in health tourism brings great benefits, primarily for special hospitals and health centers that have not yet operated as companies and have not been in the VAT system.  “Here I would especially like to highlight thallasotherapy, it uses marine natural healing factors that favorably affect the respiratory system which is especially important at this time of pandemic. This is an opportunity to use all our potentials and put a lot of hotels along the coast in the function of health tourism, which would significantly extend the existing tourist season. However, one of the key preconditions for this is the privatization of special hospitals and health resorts, which is stated in the Action Plan for the Development of Health Tourism in the Republic of Croatia prepared by the Institute for Tourism.”, Points out Medak and adds that it is crucial to connect all stakeholders in the story, in which the key role should be played by the Health Tourism Association of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce. According to all strategies for the development of the domestic tourist offer, health tourism has a priority role, but this segment has also suffered a heavy blow due to the coronavirus pandemic. On the other hand, Korona has become aware of the importance of health globally, which could be a great advantage in the development of Croatia as a leading destination for health tourism in the future. Strengthening continental tourism capacities would bring more balanced economic development and reduce seasonality, but a prerequisite for all this is a quality and well-educated workforce. All our interlocutors agree with this, so they pay special attention to employees and their education.  He agrees with that Marcel Medak, president of the Health Tourism Association of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and director of the company Sunčane toplice. He believes that in the future the demand of patients for certain services, such as the rehabilitation of chronic diseases, will fall, but he also sees this as a great chance for institutions that are ready to turn more strongly to the market. Another great strength of health tourism is that most of the facilities are located in the interior of Croatia and provide great potential for the development of continental tourism, and good examples of such development can be seen in neighboring countries. center_img “The biggest staffing problem is the chronic lack of a specialist doctor, which we also had in Sunčane toplice, so we imported two doctors from BiH and Serbia.”Explains Medak and concludes that currently the biggest challenge is the promotion of health tourism, especially through the CNTB, for which it is necessary to significantly increase funding. Photo: Terme Tuhelj “Terme Tuhelj has always been actively cooperating with the Secondary Catering School in Zabok, which is the foundation of the development of the competence center, and we will be very happy to include all those who actively participate in the development of tourism in its work and activities. It is difficult to have staff in tourism in the whole of Croatia, Zagorje is no exception, so Terme has developed internal protocols for training, education and development of its employees, from employment to the entire career. There have been cases of hiring foreign staff, but in small numbers, for now the team manages to fill the staff from Croatia, mostly from Zagorje and the surrounding area.”, Said Horvat, and Medak thinks similarly, pointing out that in Sunčane toplice they had no problems finding workers, as did other employers in health tourism.  In addition to the existing educational institutions, the Regional Center of Competence in Tourism and Hospitality in Zabok will soon be established. The center should contribute to the education of future staff needed in this sector, adult education and monitoring of new technologies and trends in Europe and the world, and this is especially welcomed in Treme Tuhelj. I Krešimir Škof, Deputy Director of the Special Hospital for Medical Rehabilitation Stubičke Toplice, which is registered for health tourism, emphasizes that the new legislative framework is good because there is no need to establish a subsidiary, but everything is done “under the same hat”. However, he says that the registration of the activity itself means nothing if it is not accompanied by an adequate offer. “If the facilities are old and of poor quality, if the service does not meet the criteria of a demanding market and if there is no evidence of quality, there is no progress in the market. We have invested in our workers, services and facilities for years – over HRK 80 million has been invested in the last ten yearsSaid the Bishop.last_img

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