Analysis: the Potential of Health Tourism in BiH

spaAlthough it is only March and it is not the peak of the season, the Spa “Reumal” in Fojnica is surprisingly full: parking lot full of cars, many with foreign license plates, and the hotel full of guests. Some of them are there for prevention, others because of problems with rheumatism, the third for neurological diseases and post-traumatic conditions, and all of them are rushing not to miss the afternoon exercises.

Management of “Reumal” wants more guests, and therefore they renovated most of the building, and part of the plan is the construction of a new indoor swimming pool. They stated that with the investment of 5 million BAM they will improve the quality of services and attract new guests. For those who do not prefer health programs and want to spend some quality time, “Reumal” offers a modern wellness and spa center as well as an outdoor pool.

Mersida Burekovic, head of the marketing of “Reumal”, said that the capacity of both facilities (at the hospital) of 520 places are full, and with a long waiting list: “In 2015, we realized 3,000 overnight stays more compared to the previous years. The average length of stay is 10 days and 85 % of guests are domestic. Foreign guests are mostly from Croatia, Slovenia, Libya, Kuwait, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden, and diaspora is coming in the summer.”

BiH has dozens of spa resorts, like this one in Fojnica. Rehabilitation and health tourism are considered as one of the main potentials for development of health tourism in our country, and most of the spas recorded increase of the number of visits. Foreign guests who come for medical, recreational or other reasons, besides the quality of rehabilitation services, stated prices as one of the reasons for coming, considering that even with transport to BiH they are still significantly lower than in their own countries. One day of physical rehabilitation in “Reumal” costs 76 BAM, and the price includes accommodation, full stay, doctor’s examination and 4 daily therapies.

There are also those who come for “Hollywood smile” in Fojnica. There is the story about dentists in Fojnica making duplicate dentures for foreign guests of “Reumal”, because they are quality and cheap in BiH,”so they want double, just in case.”

Dr. Suzana Lovric, a specialist in oral surgery said that we have quality staff for the development of dental tourism, and our services are much cheaper than in Croatia, Slovenia, and especially in other EU countries.

Jasmina Halilovic, a spokeswoman for the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (FIPA), said that the Agency has 7 investment projects in the field of health and spa tourism in its base. Halilovic says that based on the queries they receive from investors, it can be said that there is interest in BiH health tourism.

“BiH could attract investors in the field of spa tourism on the basis of private-public partnership, which represents possibility for faster development of this branch, and automatically hiring people, enriching the offer and direct improvement of the attractiveness of the spa,” said Halilovic.

Currently, three projects are realized through FIPA in the sector of health tourism: “Buroj Ozone” in the area of Trnovo, REI Group from South Korea plans to build the center for medical tourism and TLG Ltd. Travnik plans the construction of tourist complex on Vlasic “Eco zone Koricani”.


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