ZAGREB, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- Health tourism is a lever of Croatian tourism in the future, Minister of Tourism Gari Cappelli said here on Tuesday at a major health conference, daily Jutarnji list reported.
He emphasized that Croatia has a chance to earn over one billion euro (1.14 billion U.S. dollars) per year from health tourism, more than double the amount today.
"As part of one of the most developed regions of health tourism in Europe, Croatia has all the opportunities to become internationally recognizable by its diverse and high-quality offer of health tourism," the minister said at the first Health Spot Croatia conference in Zagreb, which attracted over 200 participants and leading experts in the fields of medicine, healthcare, wellness and tourism from Croatia and other countries.
Due to its mild climate and ecological soundness, as well as expertise in tourism and healthcare, many believe that Croatia has the potential to be among the top countries for medical tourism in the world.
"We have great predispositions - a favorable climate, an excellent combination of natural and technological resources, educated people," said Luka Burilovic, president of the Croatian Chamber of Economy, at the conference, quoted by Jutarnji list.
Participants agreed that Croatia should promote itself as "the country for health". Tourism is a major industry in Croatia that accounts for nearly one-fifth of the country's gross domestic product (GDP).
Last year was another record-breaking year for the tourism industry, with almost 20 million tourist arrivals. Tourism revenues in 2018 were estimated at 12 billion euro (13.7 billion U.S. dollars), which is the largest revenue in Croatia's history. Revenues in health tourism were around 500 million euros (around 570 million U.S. dollars).