Full of Life, the Mediterranean as It Once Was, and the New Tourism Star of the EU.
Whatever the slogan, the story is the same - Croatia is IN. With 18 million tourists a year and rising, each year is seemingly a new record.
But how to visit this idyliic Adriatic haven for free? 12 months a year?
Yes, it is possible, if you organise yourself to use the opportunities available in Croatia to have Croatia provide you savings which not only cover the cost of your holiday, but will - in many cases - give you some nice spending money as well.
The quality of dental care is generally high and the prices are much lower compared to the UK, USA and other parts of Europe.
Perhaps my favourite Croatian tourism story of all is about award-winning Bagatin Clinic in Zagreb and how an American man with disastrous teeth not only had his mouth transformed by surgery halfway across the world with incredible savings, but also turned his life around as a result, discovering a new-found self-confidence, as well as having the holiday of a lifetime. In Zagreb. In December! I really encourage you to read Carl's story, for not only is it heartwarming, but it is probably the best Croatian tourism story I know. Read Carl's story here.
And now look at the treatment costs - 52,100.00 HRK = $8050,00 with Bagatin, all completed in 10 days, compared to the estimated cost for this procedure in USA is $25.000,00 - $30.000,00 (27 metal ceramic crowns and endodontic therapy), which would have taken place over a two-year period. A saving of $17,000 - $22,000 gives plenty of room for transatlantic flights for two and a great holiday. And if you happen to come out of season, there is no better time to be in Zagreb than during Advent in Zagreb, which has been voted the best Christmas Market in Europe for two years running.
Before I explain how another jewel of Croatian tourism, not mentioned above, can do just that, let's make some quick assumptions about how people run their lives in the modern day.
It is fair to say that those who plan ahead generally make smarter and more financially astute decisions. People who put 10,000 euro in the back for 12 months, rather than keep it under the mattress, for example, will have money for a holiday off the interest after a year. People who are in the habit of taking advantage of early bird discounts on car insurance will have more to spend than those who pay in monthly installments. The list goes on.
And those who plan their Croatian trip against a backdrop of their own daily lives can find the savings to fund a holiday and more from things they would have spent the money on back home.
For Croatia has one more jewel in its crown of tourism which is not so well-known, but which has industry insiders very excited indeed - medical tourism.
What if you could get that dental treatment done for a fraction of the price of in your home country, but with the same (or higher) level of care, expertise and equipment, but with such savings that the money you would have spent on the treatment back home was the equivalent of the treatment in Croatia, plus a holiday, spending money and enough for presents for the family? What if you could plan your healthcare to a visit to Croatia, saving potentially thousands (or in some cases, tens of thousands). Quality treatment in one of the top tourist destinations in Europe. Treat your body, then treat yourself and your wallet.
But for even bigger savings, talk to another American patient at Bagatin Clinic, who found the Zagreb clinic after being quoted $90,000 back in the USA, for 24 metal ceramic crowns and 3 tooth extractions, as well as dental implants. Bagatin did the work, minus the dental implants which were not needed - total cost - 41,040.00 HRK = $6,340, a total saving (with the need not to do dental implants taken into consideration) of more than $83,000. To learn more about Bagatin Clinic, click here.
I recently interviewed Dr. Prem Jagyasi, a leading speaker on the global medical tourism circuit, on the potential of Croatian medical tourism. Here is part of what he said about price:
"A study was done looking at the cost of 26 common procedures in various countries. The results were interesting. For the equivalent of $685 of care in the United States, the same procedures could be done for the following prices around the world - Singapore ($205), Turkey ($175), Croatia ($185) and India ($100). So if an American needed to have $68,500 of medical care, he could get that in Croatia for $18,500. Spend $5,000 on an amazing holiday, and look at the savings. Croatia's pricing on health tourism is competitive, and the quality of its care is high. But price is just one factor.
"A successful medical tourism destination needs to offer much more than just the operation itself, and this is where Croatia has a huge advantage to develop. It is located in Europe, within easy access of a number of countries. It is extremely safe. It has an excellent climate, nothing too extreme. It has culture and good infrastructure. English is widely spoken. It also has some great thermal spas which play a part in recuperation. And it is a fantastic tourist destination, so the possibility to combine some medical treatment with a holiday is a great combination - the savings on the treatment pay for the holiday. If you look at other places in Europe, Germany has more medical tourism than Croatia, but the conditions here are really favourable. You can read the full interview with Dr. Prem here.
There is another factor to the Croatian medical tourism story which I had not appreciated until last week when I attended the 2nd Adriatic Health and Tourism Investment Forum in Zagreb. UK patients on NHS waiting lists can get free healthcare in countries such as Croatia, so if you are on an NHS waiting list and do not want to wait, but would prefer to have the expertise of Croatian doctors, who offer competitive pricing for the NHS and excellent care and a quick appointment for the patient, such treatment IS possible. Learn more about it from a company organising such procedures in the UK, called MedRefund.
Holidays are supposed to be about relaxing, not worrying about your health. But with a little practicality and planning, coupled with quick and painless treatment procedures, the savings that Croatian health tourism can pass on to the patient who has thought ahead can not only cover the cost of that holiday, but put a nice downpayment on an additional one too. To learn more about health tourism in Croatia, here are 25 Things to Know about Health Tourism in Croatia.