Interview with Poliklinika Bagatin, Platinum Sponsor of World Medical Tourism Summit Abu Dhabi 2017

1. How did your clinic get started?

The story of Poliklinika Bagatin began in 1995, when my father, Marijo Bagatin, the late Professor of Medicine and one of the most renowned maxillofacial specialists in Croatia, opened a private medical office. Today, Poliklinika Bagatin is one of Croatia´s leading multispecialty clinics, with over 20 years of experience providing high quality and aesthetic services.

2. What is your ethos?

From the very beginning I wrote down my personal vision and that of the clinic: Patient always comes first! Our objective is to provide our patients with the highest medical service standards using only world-renowned technology, accompanied by a highly specialized and educated staff and a service level that is on par with five-star hotels and resorts. Did we help our patients and provide them with the best possible service? That is the question we ask ourselves at the end of each day. Today we have served more than 14,000 patients whose lives we continually strive to improve, and we accept the challenge of continuing to be the top beauty, dental health, and aesthetics medical provider in the market. Anything less is unacceptable.

3. When did you understand the importance of medical tourism and how you could offer your services in this field?

Medical Tourism market has a considerable potential. The fact that Croatia is a top tourist country and a hotspot according to many tourism and leisure magazines and websites only contributes to the overall attractiveness of the destination. Health tourism in Croatia is one of the key tourism products encompassed by the Vision 2020 of our Ministry of Tourism, our tourism boards but most importantly the pillars of the industry - the medical providers. We are very optimistic when it comes to the future of medical and health tourism in Croatia. Considering the global medical tourism industry growth is poised for 15-20 % growth year over-year, a portion of this domino effect and impact will, in fact, be felt in our country as well.

4. What are your main areas of expertise?

Located in two prime locations in Zagreb, today we have a reputation for excellence in the fields of plastic surgery, dentistry, dermatology and cosmetology. We offer over 250 treatments and have 24 experts purely devoted to providing 5-star treatments to our patients. In our highly modern dental, dermatology and body shaping center located at the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, we put emphasis on the aesthetic dentistry, oral surgery, implantology and 3D diagnostics and our plastic surgery department is located downtown. Recognition and exceptional quality of our services speaks for itself as this year we won IMTJ’s (International Medical Travel Journal) award for “Best International Cosmetic Surgery Clinic” According to Deloitte, we are one of Croatia’s fastest growing SMBs in the medical sector. More importantly, over 7,000 patients completed our online satisfaction questionnaires in 2016, stating that 99% of our patients would use our services again or recommend us to friend and family.

5. Where do you currently receive medical tourists from and which treatments do they undergo with your clinic?

The majority of our patients are from the Austrian, Swiss, German, Italian and American markets, coming for dental treatments (dental implants, crowns, veneers and some endodontics) and plastic surgery procedures. Top procedures in plastic surgery for both domestic and international patients are breast augmentation, breast lift, Vaser Lipo ultrasound liposuction and high definition Vaser liposuction, rhynoplasty, abdominoplasty, facelifting and Botox of-course.

6. Which countries are you looking to generate more international medical patients from?

We currently target GCC as well as the USA. What makes us visible amongst buyers and consumers in these areas is our presence at specialized global conferences, workshops and fairs. ITW Abu Dhabi and the Medical Tourism Summit is one of the most prominent events in the UAE and this year Poliklinika Bagatin is Platinum Sponsor.

7. What % of your patients are from overseas and what growth do you envisage?

Our international patients currently form 10% of all our patients in 2017. Our goal is to increase this share to 30% by 2020. For the first 6 months of 2017 we have had clients from 30 countries around the world.

8. What makes you unique and why should patients visit Poliklinika Bagatin?

Our Holistic approach in providing services, quality of treatments, and our highly specialized and educated staff. From the very first point of patient ´s contact with our call center or reception staff, to the aftercare and follow up with the patient, we provide them with excellent service at every point of contact. World´s best quality service is our promise!

9. You are exhibiting and speaking at The World Medical Tourism Summit in Abu Dhabi this November. What are your expectations from the Middle East market and what will you be highlighting at the show?

Yes, we are really proud to be Platinum sponsor and to have the opportunity to represent Croatia in one of the fastest growing segments in the global travel industry, The Muslim majority travel market. Above all, we represent Croatia as a desirable destination for medical tourism, then our brand. We will be there together with other Partners from Croatia, all led by Arabco Projects - official representative of ITW Abu Dhabi for Croatia and the Adriatic region. What we expect to do there is to influence the Middle East’s most influential decision makers and budget holders, to enter this booming market and to capitalize on growing spending in the region. We want to convince them that we provide value, to get them here to see our facilities and to get approvals for cooperation.

10. Many Middle East patients will have specific Halal requirements, how is Croatia able to assist these patients when visiting overseas for treatment?

The development of Halal tourism in Croatia began in 2010 with the draft of the Halal book of regulations and the award of the first Halal certificate to the service provider. Currently Halal Certificate has 16 hotels, 10 catering establishments and 7 travel agencies in Croatia that positions Croatia as the regional leader in Halal food production and the European leader in the development of Halal tourism. Leading manufacturers in Croatia also saw the potential of this market and are also Halal certified for the production of Halal products by Croatian Halal Quality Certification Center, official body in Croatia for Halal Quality Certification. World Halal Day is just one of the events where Croatia and it´s institutions showed that they are ready to contribute to further development of the Islam community in Croatia and hence the better development of Halal standards and certification. So, we can conclude is that Croatia and Zagreb are “Halal friendly” locations.

11. What does the future hold for Poliklinika Bagatin?

We will continue to grow and develop our current areas, including plans to expand our surgery department. We will also expand our dermatology and dentistry departments to support the turnover and number of foreign clients for the next 3 years. Since we have been educating more than 200 aesthetics practitioners every year, and are certainly one of the regional leaders, our plan is to organize major International events and conferences for aesthetics and antiaging. All with one aim, to attract a large number of doctors and specialists worldwide, to learn from us, but also to learn from them.