Christine A Lai, PhD, Professor

State University of New York Buffalo State

Business Department

1300 Elmwood Ave

Buffalo, NY 14222, USA

E-mail: christine.a.lai@gmail.com

Chenchen Huang, PhD, Associate Professor

State University of New York Buffalo State

Hospitality and Tourism Department

1300 Elmwood Ave

Buffalo, NY 14222, USA

E-mail: huangc@buffalostate.ue

Presentation title: Understanding chinese perceptions toward Croatia medical tourism: a fishbein model based on competitive analysis

Abstract

The purpose of this research is to study the Chinese perception toward tourism to Croatia, specifically medical tourism to the Kvarner region. While the Chinese outbound medical travel market is very large and growing rapidly, it is a very competitive market. Therefore, it is important to conduct marketing research to understand the Chinese tourists and medical tourists. According to data provided by the Croatian National Tourism Board, 102,000 tourists from Mainland China visited Croatia in 2016. That number increased by 60% in 2017. As stated in “With Poor Care at Home, the Rich Lead China’s Medical Tourism Boom”

(http://knowledge.ckgsb.edu.cn/2017/09/20/tourism/rich-lead-china-medical-tourism-boom/), over 500,000 outbound medical trips were made by Chinese tourists in 2016, a 400% growth rate from 2015.  On average, Chinese outbound medical tourists spent RMB 50,000 (about USD 8,000) per medical tourist.

In June 2018, a semi-structured interview format was used to allow Chinese nationals in a Beijing university classroom setting to freely discuss their impressions and opinions regarding medical tourism. Data was collected by a distributed questionnaire and researcher led discussion. The survey instrument used a Likert scale 1 to 5 with 1 being “not important at all” and 5 being “very important” to evaluate the importance of 39 medical tourism industry criteria statements and was distributed to 22 participants. Results of this exploratory study show that criteria statement “It is safe to travel to” received the highest rank 5.00/5.00 and “it’s culture is similar to mine” received the lowest rank 2.70/5.00. Both response scores are positive outcomes for Croatian medical tourism from the perspective of out-bound Chinese.

As a result, of this June pilot study, the survey instrument was refined and another larger pilot study with approximately 100 survey participants will be conducted in Beijing in September 2018, before the final draft of the survey is launched in Beijing. The findings of the final draft study launch can provide practical applications to better serve the Chinese outbound medical tourist target market.