Friday, 25 November 2022

Sinteza Clinic Changes Ownership, Announces Growth Post-Acquisition

November 25, 2022 - The company Futura Partners announced their acquisition of the Bagatin Medical Group from Ognjen Bagatin yesterday.

With this, the company Futura Partners, which took over the luxury interior design company Sinago this summer, entered the health sector. The Futura Partners company was founded by local Croatian entrepreneurs and businessmen with the aim of investing in small and medium-sized Croatian companies with great growth potential. The partners are the IT professionals Luka Abrus Fijačko and Ivan Gabrić, economists Berislav Horvat and Filip Jelić, lawyers Josip Konjevod and Zlatko Knezović and entrepreneurs Saša Cvetojević and Ognjen Bagatin. Bagatin Medical Group, which they acquired yesterday, includes Sinteza Clinic, Fides Clinic and the online dermo-cosmetics store Bagatin Beauty.

"Private healthcare is one of the areas that is experiencing great growth at the regional and global level. People in Croatia are increasingly looking for a faster and better service than the one currently offered by public healthcare. Additionally, in Europe, our country is becoming an increasingly desirable destination when it comes to health tourism. Although Croatia is well connected with the rest of the continent by airlines, our private healthcare primarily offers its services to people who live within a radius of 600 kilometers, i.e. in an area with 76 million people. In addition to the potential that private healthcare has, it is attractive to investors because of its resilience. Despite the challenges brought by the new economic crisis, clients' need for health services remains constant," said Filip Jelić, a partner in the company Futura Partners.

In this transaction, Ognjen Bagatin sold the company Bagatin Medical Group in its entirety, and now as a partner and director in Futura Partners he continues to run the Sinteza clinic and Fides clinic, and the Bagatin Beauty online store. "I am glad that I will be able to continue to lead this great team of doctors and other health personnel and employees in the supporting departments. The acquisition is a kind of confirmation of quality and an incentive to use the potential at our disposal. It will enable us to further develop, especially the improvement of technology, the education of employees and a new increase in the quality of services for our patients and clients. Sinteza Clinic has gained a huge amount of experience in the 15 years it's been around. In addition to the branches of medicine in which we are already well known, we are now additionally developing gynaecology, dermatology and cosmetology. Fides in Split is one of the few neurorobotic polyclinics in the region. It gives us the best insight into the future of medicine. The quality of treatment and rehabilitation will be influenced by the synergy of the expertise of doctors and highly sophisticated technology", Ognjen Bagatin pointed out.

As stated in today's announcement, Futura Partners is currently dedicated to managing the acquired companies, i.e. increasing their revenues. At the same time, they continue to monitor small and medium-sized companies in Croatia, especially those in manufacturing, as well as those in private healthcare that need the transfer of ownership and management. This transfer is necessary for companies that were founded in the 90s, but also for younger ones whose owners are aware that they cannot raise the company's operations to a higher level on their own, Futura Partners conclude.

Saturday, 13 March 2021

Croatia Wins Medical Tourism Award at ITB Berlin Tourism Fair

March 13, 2021 – Good news comes from the world's leading tourism fair ITB Berlin, as Croatia wins medical tourism award!

Together with 18 Croatian co-exhibitors, the Croatian National Tourist Board (CNBT) presented the Croatian tourist offer at the virtual edition of the world's leading tourist fair ITB in Berlin. For the first time after 50 years, the fair was held via the online platform ITB Berlin NOW.

As part of the fair, Croatia also won the special ITB Medical Tourism Destination Award, awarded for the first time by ITB with the HTI Conference's (Health Tourism Industry) support.

The organizers recognized Croatia as an innovative and sustainable destination that provides a high level of medical tourism experience and services. Over 250 thousand guests visit Croatia annually for medical tourism, which confirms this recognition. Romeo Draghicchio, Director of the CNTB Representation in Germany, accepted the award. The award will, among other things, be an additional motivation in further medical tourism development in Croatia.

"By participating in the ITB Berlin fair, we maintain Croatia's presence and visibility in our traditionally most important German market. We also maintain business contacts and relationships with key partners, agents, tour operators, airlines. Despite the current situation, we believe that the easing of restrictions will normalize the tourist traffic, and many Germans will place their trust in Croatia this year as well. This is supported by the recent inclusion of four Croatian counties on the list of safe regions by the German Robert Koch Institute, making Istria the only safe sea region in the Mediterranean. Also, the largest German airline Lufthansa announced to increase the number of flights to Croatia in the coming period," said CNTB director Kristjan Staničić.

The fair was held from March 9 to 12, 2021. The Croatian delegation held a series of online meetings with representatives of major agencies, tour operators, and other partners such as DER Touristik, Schauinsland, Eurowings, BBC, Amadeus (one of the world's strongest companies for new technologies in tourism), Holliday Pirates (large booking travel platform), and others.

During the meetings, the partners stressed that they expect a better tourist season than last year.

"Although the period of intensive booking is just ahead of us, partners in the German market have been noticing an increase in interest in travel since mid-February compared to previous periods. They are especially interested in the arrangements for the Easter holidays and spring, with an emphasis on Istria, for which restrictions and quarantine measures have been lifted when passengers return to Germany," said Draghicchio.

Along with the Croatian National Tourist Board as the leading exhibitor, the Croatian stand also presented co-exhibitors, including the tourist boards of Dubrovnik-Neretva County, Dubrovnik, and Zagreb, as well as Croatia Airlines, Jadrolinija, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Valamar, Maistra, Uniline, Laguna Novigrad (Aminess Hotels & Campsites), Liburnia Riviera Hotels, ID Riva, Abacus, Ban Tours, Perfecta Travel, Sunturist, Unlimited Croatia DMC, and Via Mea Travel.

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Sunday, 17 May 2020

When Will Health Tourism Resume in Croatia? Italians Eager to Travel for Services

May 17, 2020 - After health tourism came to a halt because of the coronavirus pandemic, the owners of dental offices and polyclinics in Croatia are waiting for the borders to open again. The return of guests from abroad is also desired by other health care institutions that realize part of their income from the provision of services to foreign clients, such as cosmetic surgeons or spas.

Novi List reports that it is estimated that the daily consumption of wellness users last year was almost 150 euro, in spa tourism 60 euro, and in medical tourism 240 euro. According to official estimates, health tourism brings in about 500 million euro a year, and mostly hosts residents of Germany, Slovenia, Austria and Italy. As it turned out, the Croatian border today is no longer an obstacle to the arrival of foreign clients who are interested in dental implants or breast augmentation, because, in principle, anyone who books a hotel room can enter the country. But the Italian border, for example, is still closed, while most other countries still have rules stricter than ours. The largest number of clients of dental institutions in the Primorje-Gorski Kotar and Istria counties come from Italy.

"We had to cancel a number of appointments in the last two months, and the situation became more complicated for our clients during that time. We are waiting every moment for the borders to open, and according to the information we have, they are ready and eagerly waiting to come," says Zeljko Miljanic, the founder and owner of the Rident Polyclinic.

It is customers from Italy who make up 90 percent of their customers. Due to the closure of the borders, 210 employees in the three polyclinics have been at home for two months, on hold, hoping that the borders will finally open. So far, says Miljanic, they have managed to get through this time without firing any employees, but if something does not change soon, it will not last long. "And the includes maintenance and investment are extremely large for us," he points out.

"As health tourism, we are the second most profitable activity in the county, and I hope that the local self-government will start thinking about the fact that many people will depend on us, on the tax and surtax we pay," says Miljanic.

He hopes that the Italians will get permission from their authorities to leave the country in June, which would allow our entrepreneurs in the field of dental tourism to continue working. The Croatian Chamber of Dental Medicine (HKDM) says that the resumption of work with foreign clients will not happen overnight, but they expect things to return to normal gradually.

"Given the dynamics of the gradual, phased withdrawal of protective measures in Croatia, as in other European Union countries, we expect an adequate gradual return to everyday life, which includes the provision of comprehensive dental care in dental offices to foreign nationals. Providing these services to the extent we had before the pandemic was declared will certainly not be overnight, but the quality dental services provided by foreign patients in our surgeries will continue to be interesting for foreign patients, who we believe will continue to show interest in dental tourism services in Croatia," says the President of the Chamber, Hrvoje Pezo. He points out that the maximum caution and protection of both the foreign patient and the dental service provider is extremely important.

The protocol of treatment is elaborated in detail, so the rules of conduct and personal protection are well known when you come to the dental practice. At the Rident Polyclinic, they point out that they had extremely high standards of protection even before the coronavirus epidemic, which is confirmed by the fact that despite the large number of clients from Italy, they did not have a single case of coronavirus infection just before the border closed.

"Back in February, we had clients from the zones in Italy that were most affected by the infection. Despite that, no dentist has contracted COVID," Miljanic points out.

Today, the rules for crossing the Croatian state border are such that for a foreign citizen to enter the country, it is advisable to contact the border police by e-mail, if a person wants to be sure that he will not be banned from entering Croatia. The Chamber points out that their members are ready to help their clients in this.

"Dental doctors are ready to help foreigners in collecting the necessary documentation related to entering Croatia for the purpose of providing dental care. However, the details of crossing the border, as well as countries in transit, need to be elaborated in more detail and certainly enable the simplest possible entry procedure, which in accordance with EU directives ensures free migration of EU citizens and citizens of other countries," says Pezo.

The coronavirus pandemic has taught people to be careful, and the question is how many Italians will go to the dentist in another country during a pandemic, albeit on a much smaller scale than a month or two ago. As in general tourism, caution could significantly reduce the number of foreigners coming to Croatia. The Chamber of Dental Medicine is aware of this problem, but still believes that the interest of foreign clients will not be absent.

"At this moment, it is necessary to create preconditions for the re-migration of patients, both Croatian and foreign citizens. European Union countries are cautiously withdrawing protective measures that will rekindle the interest of foreign clients, since Croatia is an interesting destination, and the dental services themselves are at an extremely high level of quality, which foreign patients have recognized," says Pezo.

He adds that the chamber has developed professional guidelines for full-scale work during the coronavirus pandemic, which guarantees maximum protection for all patients.

In the last two months, the Chamber has continuously cooperated with the Crisis Headquarters at the Ministry of Health, and as a professional organization of dentists, dental technicians and dental assistants, pointed to professional guidelines based on scientific knowledge and experience in the everyday practice of dental practices. "All decisions of the Crisis Headquarters were implemented at the county level, where, in only a few cases, the organization of dental work was specific. In an effort to help its members, the chamber gave its suggestions in writing, which were accepted by these counties," they point out.

The losses in health tourism are huge, as in other parts of the economy. In dental tourism, the drop in traffic is up to 100 percent. The economic aid measures adopted by the Government, including dental medicine, will, they say, alleviate the financial difficulties of dentists and dental technicians, but they hope that there will soon be economic growth in their business.

"Losses in dental tourism are 100 percent, which is why the Chamber is cooperating intensively with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Tourism on the reactivation of dental tourism, because health tourism, due to its advantages, could be a lever for tourism in Croatia," Pezo said. The advantages of health tourism are related to the fact that there is no seasonality, so it is tourism that is current throughout the year, patients are tied to one place, or to the health institution they come to, can be kept under health supervision. A special advantage is that health professionals who provide health services have professional knowledge and appropriate education and can adequately take care of all necessary protective measures, according to the Chamber of Dental Medicine.

Cosmetic surgery is in a slightly more favorable position, which depends to a much lesser extent on foreign clients. At the Zoran Žgaljardić Center for Aesthetic Surgery, foreign patients make up only 20 to 30 percent of the total clientele. Despite this, they hope to return to 'normal' as soon as possible so that they can work at full capacity.

"There are interested parties whose operations were canceled last month and the month before last, and now they are calling to schedule a new appointment," says Žgaljardić, who is not convinced that opening the borders will quickly normalize and foreigners rush to our clinics.

"People have no fear if things are regulated. If we open the borders, a foreigner who wants to come to our clinic will receive an invitation letter for surgery, and then he will solve the rest in his country," explains the cosmetic surgeon.

He believes that the return of clients from neighboring countries will not happen so fast.

"People will be scared because things are not clear until the end. Each of us in this situation will have some priorities and security put in the first place, and something will be postponed for later," he believes.

But safety reasons, in his opinion, should not be an obstacle for someone to decide on an aesthetic procedure, without fear of infection.

"If you have a man who is healthy and if the instructions are followed, the chances of something happening are minimal. Our client, if he comes from abroad, gets in the car, crosses the border, has an operation, returns home. It is a closed story, the possibility of infection is reduced to a minimum. But people need to be aware that they need to be careful," he points out. He noticed that people in our country have become quite free, relaxed, and act as if it is not an epidemic. He is not very happy with that, because there is always a risk of the virus coming back.

"Some people relax and think it's not like that, but it is, no matter what they think about it. Some of us think it’s stupid to wear a mask, but I, as a doctor, don’t think so until a vaccine or cure is found. Everyone should think for themselves and take the strictest measures, that is the only thing that is intelligent in this situation,"  Žgaljardić points out.

In his clinic, they apply all prescribed protection measures, from disinfection to masks and visors. Visors are used in surgical procedures, especially the anesthesiologist during intubation, while he, as the doctor at the examination, wears only a mask.

"We start from the assumption that we work with a healthy person. We could also test our patients, but realistically he can get infected a few hours later. Testing is relative proof that a person is healthy," explains Žgaljardić. Ultimately, he adds, a patient can also be infected, but does not have to pass the disease on to anyone if everyone is properly protected.

Although cosmetic surgery is a branch of health tourism that could potentially suffer more than others, because it does not seem to be a priority, this interlocutor claims that this cannot be seen as such, and that the issue of cosmetic surgery and its urgency is very individual.

"Being a reward for some is a priority for others. Some people will never come to me, they will think it’s stupid, and others will. Physical disability is not an upgrade, it makes a person depressed, it brings with it another issue. Just because something is beauty-related doesn’t mean it has no basis for health. It is not, of course, cancer, but there are many other similar procedures on the body that do not have to be done, and they are important to people," Žgaljardić illustrates and announces that he is resuming his activity at a slow pace and with great caution.

"This year, we are all trying to survive, to stay afloat, and at the same time, we live in optimism," he concludes.

To read more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 23 August 2019

Total Croatia News Wins Medical Tourism Media Award in Malaysia

August 23, 2019 - The inaugural Medical Travel Media Awards took place at the Kuala Lumpur Sheraton in Malaysia on August 22, 2019, with Total Croatia News among the award winners.

TCN CEO Paul Bradbury was at the event representing TCN and collected the award for Best Online Feature in the International Category. Additionally, Bradbury and TCN were finalists in the category of International Medical Journalist of the year.
The awards were conceived by the dynamic Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council, whose spectacular success in forging a public private partnership and national brand has catapulted Malaysia among the best medical tourism providers in the world. This was the first time a country has held a special event to celebrate the media contribution to the medical tourism story.
MHTC invited journalists to submit print, online and broadcast contributions profiling Malaysian medical tourism excellence, and they received over 250 submissions from 10 countries.
Bradbury, a vocal promoter of the huge potential of medical tourism in Croatia, first came into contact with Malaysian medical tourism last year at CIHT 2019 in Crikvenica, where MHTC CEO Sherene Azli gave a spectacular presentation of the Malaysian approach to developing its medical tourism.
"Malaysia's approach to medical tourism is summed up together by the MHTC hashtag, Together We Win. Their unity and wonderful, coordinated approach between the public and private sector is a lesson to us all. Croatia has much to learn from countries such as Malaysia as it tries to exploit its own medical tourism opportunity.
"It was a huge honour to win this award, the first international award for TCN, and I would like to thank my entire team, my wonderful girls and Ognjen Bagatin and Tea Hitner from Bagatin Clinic for their support, as well as the outstanding hospitality of MHTC."

As part of his trip to Malaysia, Bradbury is visiting various medical tourism facilities as a guest of MHTC, where there will be more lessons to be learned for sure.
To read more about travel in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page
Tuesday, 30 April 2019

From the UAE to Zagreb and Croatia for Medical Treatment

For a long time now, we've been trying to show and tell people that Croatia is far, far more than just the sun and the sea. Sure, the sparkling Adriatic and the warm climate is of course a big draw for many who take to Croatia's beautiful coastline every summer, but those who think that's all that this incredible little country has to offer are sadly mistaken.

I'm not just talking about the more encouraging numbers of tourists starting to uncover continental Croatia, Eastern Croatia and the country's various hidden gems, but about the Croatia which lies outside of the tourism bubble entirely, well... almost.

Tourism makes up a large part of Croatia's GDP and there's no denying that it is by far the country's strongest economic branch, this is not always a particularly positive thing and owing to it, Croatia has been plagued by enormous seasonality in terms of the economy and the labour market. Unemployment traditionally drops quite suddenly and by a significant amount during the run up to the bustling summer tourist season, especially on the coast, and then rises once again come the end of October thanks to the attempted lengthening of the tourist season, if not before.

Now a victim to a demographic crisis, mass emigration thanks to the country's membership of the EU's single market and a strange paradox in which there are no jobs but plenty of would-be employees but also many jobs and nobody who wants to do them, it's becoming more and more obvious that despite it being the country's strongest economic branch, relying almost entirely on tourist money might not be the best plan. 

So, what else does Croatia have? It has some excellent doctors and nurses and many truly outstanding medical facilities. As Croatia tries to position itself as much more than ''just sea and sunshine'', medical tourism, or perhaps better to say ''health tourism'' has begun to take off, and with some promising results. Just recently, Donald Trump's first wife, Ivana, was in Zagreb for eye surgery at the well known Svjetlost clinic, where she underwent a procedure to restore her vision to normality and afford her a life without glasses and/or contact lenses. People like Ivana catch people's attention, and she's just one of many who have found their way to Croatia for a procedure of some sort.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Crnjak writes on the 29th of April, 2019, tourists from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are increasingly travelling to Croatia and love luxury hotels and villas, and the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) is set to present Croatia's rich tourist offer at the ATM Arabian Travel Market in Dubai on May the 1st, 2019.

In the scope of the above, HTZ Director Kristjan Staničić met with media and partners such as WEGO, Medical Ozone, AVIAREPS, Jordan's Tourism Organization, Meetin and Think Strawberries.

"Presenting Croatia on this market and cooperation with the UAE has multiple effects for Croatian tourism and for the economy, and the direct air link between Zagreb and Dubai with Emirates has led to an increased demand from business travellers, as well as tourists from East Asian countries such as South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and then even Australia,'' he said.

There are also high expectations from the new Fly Dubai line, which will link Dubrovnik and Dubai from June the 2nd to October the 13th.

Citizens of the UAE realised 25.5 thousand overnight stays in Croatia last year, and most of them came to Zagreb, Dubrovnik and Split. They are typically demanding guests who love a touch of luxury and are travelling more and more.

In addition to HTZ, there are seven co-exhibitors, TZ Zagreb, TZ Dubrovnik-Neretva County, NP Plitvice Lakes, HUP, Amathus Travel Croatia, Abacus Tours and Jung Sky.

Zagreb will be presented in Dubai as a city break, as well as a health tourism destination.

Make sure to follow our dedicated travel and lifestyle pages for much more. If it's just the Croatian capital you're interested in, give Total Zagreb a follow or check out Zagreb in a Page. Find out more about Croatia's blossoming health tourism story, as well as the health system in general, here.


Click here for the original article by Marija Crnjak for Poslovni Dnevnik