Croatia has become the most popular EU destination for Russians going on COVID-19 vaccination tours, with about 60 arriving every week.
In Russia, citizens can only get the Russian Sputnik vaccine, which many EU countries and others across the globe still do not recognise.
Vaccination in Croatia is free and Russian tourists can choose among all the COVID vaccines approved by the World Health Organisation, including Johnson & Johnson, which is administered in one dose, meaning they do not have to come back for a second shot. After being vaccinated, they receive a COVID certificate that allows them to travel across Europe.
More broadly, Croatia is also targeting the 1.2 million Croatian diaspora in the USA for inbound medical travel. Kvarner Health Tourism is working with the Medical Tourism Task Force, as part of the American Croatian Professionals Association (ACAP), to develop this market.
Another medical tourism target for Croatia is Italy. For the outbound Italian medical tourism market, Croatia has an excellent medical tourism reputation in Italy, both in terms of price and quality. The Italian market already brings significant revenue to the clinics of Istria and Kvarner.
According to BookingsMed, 550,000 Italians normally travel each year for thermal cures, with many going to the Czech Republic. Another 350,000 travel abroad for cosmetic surgery, often as far away as Brazil and Thailand.