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Medical tourism is becoming very popular. Zlín region has an increasing number of visitors from other countries.

Foreign visitors heading to Zlín region have options to undergo various medical treatments, after-care or just simply relax and recuperate in one of the five spa resorts. The idea has a potential as the local doctors are sought by patients from all over the world. From Australia, England, Switzerland and Scandinavian countries to countries of Eastern Europe…Zlín attracts an increased number of patients of specialized clinics and spas. In some places they make up to a quarter of the clientele. And in the future their number is expected to grow.

Regional Chamber of Commerce is planning to focus on making the fragmented health tourism area more organized and prepare variety of interesting packages for visitors, a combination of treatments with exploring local attractive tourist sites and therefore help with their promotion. The aim is to focus especially on Eastern markets.

"Medical tourism has great potential, it is different and gives something extra," said Executive Director of Spa Luhačovice Jiří Dědek.

The packages will include five spa towns in the region, state hospitals and three private clinics. They all have created foreign clientele on their own which reflects the extraordinary quality of healthcare they offer.

Every year there are several thousands of people undergoing some kind of medical procedure or treatment in the Zlin region. For example at the Clinic of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecology, up to thirty percent of clients are foreigners arriving from many different countries.

Initially mainly clients from Western countries have been attracted, but recently more and more visitors come from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Belarus.

"Medicine in the Czech Republic has an excellent reputation and many people coming for their treatment to us do not have such a good quality care available in their home country. In our field of medicine especially we are among the most successful in the world, " the director of the Clinic of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecology David Rumpík commented. Yet he welcomes more promotion.

If medical tourism will become more popular, hotels, restaurants, shops, local tourist attractions and other businesses throughout the whole region will benefit too. It is essential to combine a medical procedure with an after-care or relaxation in the spa. Also those who accompany patients can spend time sightseeing, enjoying a local architecture, traditions and nature.

A collaboration of the Clinic of Reproductive Medicine and the Spa Luhačovice already works based on such principle. For example when a couple arrives for a treatment, a woman spends more time at the clinic and so her husband may take advantage of enjoying time at the Spa as they often stay in Zlín for up to three weeks.

Problems to find a good quality accommodation no longer exist.

Who also remains for a longer time is the clients of Luhačovice BCL clinic that specializes in treating a chronic borreliosis. Even here the foreign clients make up a large proportion, currently there are people from 20 countries registered there. "They want to visit places other than just the clinic, get to know the area where they are. This is where we can we can help them, "said Bohdana Konečná from the Regional Chamber of Commerce. She organized an International Conference on medical tourism at which local healthcare and spa facilities have introduced their services to representatives of several countries as well as travel agencies.

"Comprehensive promotion can help to stimulate the market," said Pavel Stodůlka, the Director of the eye clinic Gemini. Although patients of his clinic remain only for a few days, they also can take advantage of the after-care at the spa or simply come back next time.

Few years ago the efforts to invite more foreign guests in Zlin region faced a problem of lack of a good quality accommodation. It used to be available practically only in Luhačovice. That has also been one of the reasons why a few years ago the Clinic of Reproductive medicine built their own hotel Tomášov within the same building as the clinic. At present, the availability of local accommodation corresponds to the demands of the visitors. Also thanks to collaboration between local clinics and spas. Spas attract a lot of attention. Although there is no longer a difference in price, the demand remains. "It is no longer true that the main attraction for foreign visitors is the price. Nowadays the quality of the service is the key”, confirmed Dědek. About fifteen percent of Luhačovice Spa’s guests come from abroad.