Sabina Hodžić, PhD, Assistant Professor

University of Rijeka

Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management

Primorska 42, P.O.Box 97, 51410 Opatija, Croatia

Phone: +385 51 294 702

E-mail: sabinah@fthm.hr

Hana Paleka, MA, Assistant

University of Rijeka

Faculty of Tourism and Hospitality Management

Primorska 42, P.O.Box 97, 51410 Opatija, Croatia

Phone: +385 51 294 703

E-mail: hanap@fthm.hr

Presentation title: THE FINANCIAL EFFECT OF HEALTH TOURISM IN THE EUROPEAN UNION

Abstract

As a specific branch of tourism, health tourism has rapidly grown into an industry providing customers with medical, dental or surgical care while on holiday. All of the above requires tangible products, services and value, such as improvement in health, illness prevention, and recovery after a serious affliction. Based on literature review there are three forms of health tourism: medical, wellness and spa, which can be divided into the following parallel sections: illness-health-wellness and curative-preventative-promotional. In 2014, the European Union market witnessed an estimated 56.0 million of domestic arrivals and 5.1 million of international arrivals for the purpose of health tourism. The objective of this paper is to present and estimate the financial effect of health tourism revenues on the European Union market. In addition, the results of a SWOT analysis within health tourism have been presented. Government should play a significant role in fostering the sustainable development of this specific branch of tourism and attracting more health tourists from various countries worldwide. In order to achieve that, European Union Member State governments should improve all types of infrastructure facilities, including road access, electricity and water supply along with air traffic, safety, security and accommodation. All of these objectives can be achieved through grants, subsidies and loans, not only from governments but from international financial institutions as well.