Poliklinika Bagatin has been our partner at the Medical Tourism Conference for a while now. What are your expectations for this year’s edition?
Ognjen Bagatin: Yes, we are really proud that this is our third year of partnership with EUROEVENTS and that after our partnership in Warsaw and Berlin we are hosting the 5th Annual Medical Tourism Conference in Zagreb this year. Our goal is to bring top clinics together again, round up the top knowledge from Europe and the world, and to get top facilitators so we can all learn from each other and grow together.
It is the first time we are coming in Croatia with MTC, could you tell us a little bit more how you feel about this, bearing in mind that this is your home country and where Bagatin Clinic is based?
Ognjen Bagatin: Zagreb and Croatia are becoming a medical tourism hotspot and working together on its promotion is something I am really excited about. We are now opening our Clinic in a new location, in the heart of Dalmatia, the beautiful city of Split, and we expect a lot from medical tourism which has great potential in such a tourist city. We wish to raise the quality of medical services for both our domestic clients and the tourists that visit us. The fact that Croatia is a top tourist destination and hotspot according to many tourism and leisure magazines and websites only contributes to the overall attractiveness of the destination and makes it easy for the branding of medical tourism. This is the time when we want to “roll the wheel” and fortify the status of Croatia as a medical tourism friendly and attractive destination, with an ample offer of medical services and options for all types of medical and tourist visitors – all year round.
What is your main focus? Inbound or outbound patients?
Ognjen Bagatin: As we are on the market for 24 years now and are already well-known among domestic clients, we are currently focusing on clients from abroad. Our main focus is patient inbound. Each year we grow 54% in the arrival of foreign clients which only proves our quality and the quality of destination. At the moment we derive most of our patients from the Austrian, Swiss, German, Slovenian and Italian market, and what we are especially excited about is the increase in the number of patients coming from USA, Australia and New Zealand. They are mostly coming for dental treatments and plastic surgery procedures. Last year we had patients coming from 39 countries form all around the world.
How do you think Croatia can become more successful in attracting foreign patients and increasing the numbers?
Ognjen Bagatin: With better positioning and branding of the destination and, before all, communicating more efficiently with 19,000,000 million tourists visiting us almost every year.
We are very optimistic when it comes to the future of medical and health tourism in Croatia. Considering the global medical tourism industry growth is poised for 15-20 % growth year over year, a portion of this domino effect and impact will, in fact, be felt in our country as well. With additional efforts to be made I think there is no doubt about it, and, as for everything else, it takes time but, as I said earlier, I think we are on the right track. Not to mention the fact that the retention of the medical staff and the brightest of the bright at medical schools all over the country as well as in Croatian hospitals and clinics would therefore not be called into question. This is something I will talk about in my presentation.
Several routes exist out there; from B2G options, to facilitator models all the way to insurance companies and large international employers functioning on self-funded health plan/insurance basis. With careful and targeted synergies, research, partnerships, governmental support and planning only the sky is limit for the Croatian medical tourism!
And lastly, could you share some interesting anecdote that you have with international patients at your clinic?
Ognjen Bagatin: Hmh, I can´t actually recall some anecdote (although I´m sure there are many 😊) but what I always do remember are the nice, positive stories of our Clients. One of them is definitely a story about Mr. Carl Faulkner, our Client from USA who came via Qunomedical last year around Christmas. This is a powerful, emotional, life changing story definitely worth reading so that is why I will not go into more detail but will link the story bellow: