First European Summit of the Health Tourism Industry: Joint Promotion of Europe as the Health Tourism Destination

Leila Krešić-Jurić

The largest European event within health tourism, HTI Conference (Health Tourism Industry), was held in Rovinj and it gathered a total of 300 participants. The first European Summit of the Health Tourism Industry was held within the Conference and organized by the Croatian Chamber of Economy. The participants of this round table were leaders of the European and international institutions from Slovenia, Monte Negro, Hungary, Portugal, Serbia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, France and the USA. There were also the representatives of the ESPA (European Spas Association), EHTTA (European Historic Thermal Towns Association), ECTAA (European Community Travel Agents Association) as well as the representatives of Cigna – a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security.

“Health tourism is the fastest growing tourism branch in Europe. It is not seasonal and its average growth rate is 15 do 20 percent annually. Although Europe is still world’s leader in tourism, it is predicted that today’s 50 percent of the market share of all tourist arrivals shall drop to 40 percent. We need the joint promotion of Europe as the health tourism destination”, said Josip Zaher, Vice president for tourism, trade and finances at the Croatian Chamber of Economy.

Round table was the opportunity to discuss this innitiative. All the participants were naming the problems within the tourism sector, such as administrative barriers and the growing competition in the non-European countries.

“Despite all the potential and tradition, we are facing many challenges here in Europe, from the legislation to insufficiently articulated promotion. This initiative is the result of multiple meetings of many European countries’ leaders, who are facing similar problems”, said Leila Krešić-Jurić, Director of tourism sector at the Croatian Chamber of Economy.