Turkey is on track to become a world leader in health tourism
Tired of waiting for a long time before being treated or operated in their own country, foreigners, especially Europeans, prefer Turkish medical institutions because of their fast and quality procedure.
Turkey is ranked fourth on the global health tourism list in terms of number of patients served and third in terms of revenue generated.
“Some 756,000 healthy tourists were welcomed in 2017, generating US $ 7.2 billion,” said Emin Çakmak, founding president of the Turkish Healthcare Travel Council.
Citing the advanced oncology equipment used in Turkey, he praised the serious investments in the healthcare industry over the past 15 years, which have completely improved Turkey’s infrastructure and technology.
In order to advance the currently booming health tourism, the Turkish government announced a series of new regulations and investment incentives for the sector last month.
According to Turkish Finance Minister Naci Agbal, the recently enacted Value Added Tax (VAT) rules provide VAT exemption for foreign patients in Turkey who receive services in this sector.
Turkey, which has achieved a higher level of success with the concept it has created in the sector in recent years, saw a 31% increase in health tourism in 2017, at a time when the The country’s economy is struggling with the depreciation of the Turkish lira.
“Health and care for the elderly is a very expensive business, many countries are looking for ways to reduce the high costs: with its sunshine, qualified medical facilities, staff and spa facilities, Turkey is a great opportunity ”, according to Agbal.
For 2018, Turkey’s medical tourism industry aims to attract 800,000 patients and $ 8 billion in revenue, with East Asia being one of the most promising markets.
According to Çakmak, Turkey welcomed 200 Chinese tourists for aesthetic or anti-aging therapies in 2017, and expects 1,000 Chinese tourists this year because the cost is 50% lower than in Switzerland and the United States.
In fact, treatments exist in almost every area of medicine, whether it’s organ transplants, cardiovascular treatments, obesity, or eye surgery.
“I had to wait up to a year in the Netherlands to have cataract surgery, but here it was done in a few days and I’m really happy with the result,” said Joost Van der Bosh, a foreign patient who underwent surgery in the city of Antalya, southern Turkey.
Turkey has also become a pioneer in hair transplantation, with people from over 70 countries seeking hair implant services in the transcontinental country.
“Turkey is one of the leading countries in the world in hair transplantation, and our doctors specializing in health tourism have serious skills,” said Özlem Safiye Kurt, tourism professional medical.
Turkey’s quality and success in hair implantation has attracted great interest from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and UAE in the Middle East, as well as Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain and France.
According to Kurt, tourists receive hair transplant services in Turkey at half the price than in their own countries.
“We have had thousands of patients from Europe over the past five years and some of them have come back to have fuller hair,” said a representative from the clinic in Istanbul.
“The treatment fee also covers a two-night stay in a hotel for patients who want to sightsee in Istanbul, the historic heart of Turkey,” she added.
In addition to good coordination between several ministries, the Turkish airline Turkish Airlines, with an increasing number of destinations, also contributes significantly to the flourishing sector.
“Turkish Airlines flies to over 300 destinations, which makes it a great asset, as patients can also obtain visas online, which makes it easier to travel,” Çakmak said.