For many years Gdansk, the biggest city on Poland’s Baltic coast, has attracted foreign tourists to its historic centre, romantic riverbank and sandy beaches in nearby villages. More recently, tourists have found another reason to travel there: dental clinics.
“When we started 10 years ago, we were almost the only business here which targeted international patients,” says Anna Sarzynska, the owner of Anna Dental Clinic in the centre of Gdansk. “Today the market has spread, almost every clinic in the city offers its services to foreigners.”
Ms Sarzynska says that around 80 per cent of her clients come from abroad, mainly from Scandinavia, but also from the UK and Ireland. She has hired an extra person to organise stays for patients that include hotel bookings and sightseeing and she requires perfect English of everyone in her team.
Medical tourism is on the rise in central and eastern Europe — it has been growing 12-15 per cent annually, according to research published this year by PwC, the consultancy. In 2016, 488,000 foreign patients came to Poland for treatment, according to the Polish Association of Medical Tourism.
Magdalena Rutkowska, the owner of Medical Travel Partner, a consultancy, has been working in medical tourism since 2010 and says that she has seen an increased interest in investing in the sector.
“I get requests from several new clinics every month that want to start providing services for international clients — this is a lot,” she says.