Approaching its 8th edition, which will be held in Zagreb from 1 to 3 March 2018, the HTI Conference has grown into the biggest event in Europe dedicated to health tourism and it has become a number one meeting place for all health tourism stakeholders. Zdeslav Radovčić, the founder and director of the HTI Conference, talks about the impact the HTI Conference has had on the European health tourism and shaping its future.
What is the role of HTI as a leading European health tourism event in positioning Europe as a top health tourism destination?
- We are very proud that our activities had impact in creating one of the most comprehensive study of the European Parliament - ”Research for TRAN Committee-Health Tourism in the EU - general investigation”, published in June 2017. It will be crucial for repositioning and rebranding Europe as the world's top destination for health tourism.
The leadership of the HTI Conference had several meetings with the key people who worked on the draft of the document. At the conference in Vienna we hosted Carlo Corazza who was Head of the Unit "Tourism, Creative and Emerging Industries", DG GROWTH, European Commission. Mrs Claudia Tapardel, the member of European parliament, Committee on transport and tourism, was a speaker at the conference in Rovinj. We are regularly presented at the high level conferences on tourism in the European Parliament and network with the umbrella organizations and associations within Europe such as ECTAA, ESPA, EHTTA, as well as with the European chambers of economy and the European tourist communities.
It's important to say that the health tourism study of the European Parliament refers to the “Croatian Tourism Development strategy until 2020" and quotes the work of several Croatian scientists. In this 28 countries study Croatia was referred to most, together with UK, Italy, Belgium and Germany.
How will this reflect on health tourism business and what are the next steps to accelerate this goal?
- The EU document is important because it will be a platform for the EU Funds and National banks for reconstruction and development to launch loans and other financial tools in the field of health tourism. There is also a large interest shown by non-institutional private funds interested in investing in health tourism such as US based Princeton Healthcare International. Bringing Europe as the world's top destination for health tourism requires greater efforts and coordination at the European level, defining common offers and marketing activities, harmonizing national legislation and removing administrative barriers to faster development of the European health tourism market.
What are your plans for the next period?
- In this period, before the next HTI Conference, I am visiting and speaking at many world summits, conferences, exhibitions. Among them are World Medical Tourism Congress Asia Pacific Moscow, Moscow MedShow, Medical Travel Exhibition and Conference Kiev, The World Medical Tours Summit, Abu Dhabi... A pretty intensive period combined with the organization of the eighth edition of HTI Conference in Zagreb. We are expecting more than 400 participants from more than 40 countries and over 50 buyers of health tourism services. The conference will continue to open up the most important issues of future development but also via B2B meeting enhance the opportunities for closing new contracts.