Turkey ranks among the top destinations for medical tourism — and is fixated on heightening tourism revenue and progressing the country’s economic flaws. According to the Ministry of Health, Turkey is now the sixth most visited country in the world for medical tourism.
Flocking to what is now a “medical tourism core,” the nearly 35 million tourists who visited Turkey last year came for surgical procedures — from hair transplants and plastic surgery to cancer care and orthopedic surgery.
The Ministry of Health hopes to reach the $20 billion mark in medical tourism revenue by 2023, and expects a laborious growth rate of 15-20 percent by the end of the year.
Medical Tourism — The Appeal of Turkey
So, what is driving the upswing of patients traveling to Turkey? The cost of medical treatments in private Turkish hospitals is tremendously low when compared to American hospitals and clinics. The medical tourism sector has also become very competitive due to the expertise of doctors and advanced technology.
“Currently, over 1,000 patients travel to Turkey every year to take advantage of the medical services we offer,” stated Fatih Ozturk, Project Manager at VisitandCare.com. A representative from one of VisitandCare.com’s partnered providers, ROMOY Healthcare, confirmed, “We welcome visitors from 129 countries every year, particularly patients from the Middle East, North Africa, the Turkic republics, the Gulf States and the Balkans.”
Mr. Ozturk further detailed the overwhelming appeal of medical tourism in Turkey, “People from countries with heavily congested health systems welcome the opportunity to choose the time of their surgeries together with the 40-70 percent savings, which is more affordable than European countries. Meanwhile those from less-developed nations are attracted by Western-trained medics and new facilities sprouting up as Turkey’s private health care industry flourishes. Additionally, the fact that Turkey is a central tourist attraction is also enticing.”
Spotlight on Turkey
Tourism income in Turkey increased 7.9 percent in the second quarter of 2014, compared to the same quarter of last year, to reach $9 billion, as disclosed by the Turkish Statistical Institute. Foreign visitors accounted for 84.5 percent of this income, while Turkish citizens living abroad accounted for the rest.
The number of medical tourists who visited Turkey in the first six months of 2014 totaled 162,445 with revenues reaching $328 million. Private equity investors favor Turkey’s fast-growing service industries, including health care, retail and education, because of a near tripling of the token per capita gross domestic product over the past decade.
Turkey’s Health Ministry said the country has great advantages in terms of health tourism with a very convenient geographical location.
From history enthusiasts to absolute sun seekers and those looking to get an edge on medical treatments — the top retreat destination is Turkey. The country is building medical facilities with public-private partnerships where the state will rent city hospitals built and run by the private sector for 25 years to fulfill this demanding growth opportunity.