The government has sent to lawmakers a bill that would add health care as a type of service offered by the tourism industry in Croatia.
Tourism Minister Gari Cappelli said the bill would open the door to 350 million euros in investment in medical tourism, boosting total investment in the tourism industry in 2018 to nearly 1.3 billion euros. "For the first time, we will have legislation regulating the sale of vacation packages offering health care services. Travel agencies will be able to market packages offering health care services at special hospitals, spas, and private clinics," Minister Cappelli told a news conference.
Cappelli said the bill would clear the way for projects like the development of special hospitals in Daruvar and Lovran and a 20 million euro investment by China in a facility in Krapina. The investments would lead to 2,000 new jobs, he said.
The bill describes the types of services that are considered medical tourism. They include transportation organization, transfer and accommodations, and individual and group travel for customers seeking medical services. It will also allow for more providers to enter the market besides specialized hospitals and spa clinics.
The minister added that health care legislation will have to be amended as well to reflect the change. The bill is expected to be passed by lawmakers by the end of the year and take effect on January 1, 2018.