Medical tourism in Turkey
In 2014, receiving more than 14 million visitors, Turkey officially entered the top ten list of the most visited destinations in the world and at the same time, became a major hub for medical travel and health treatments. This achievement was not a stroke of luck or a fluke of the travel industry but instead the results of a 20-year action plan to boost the tourism industry of Turkey.
In 2003, the country laid down the ground roots for an intense and extremely detailed plan of action to boost their international profile and encourage people to visit Turkey. With a completion date of 2023, the plan of action covered most areas of the tourism industry where room for improvement was obvious.
The first part was to highlight and promote many destinations within Turkey that are ideal travel spots such as Istanbul, Cappadocia and the Mediterranean coast that is a popular hub of the Turkish Riviera. However, the ambitious plan of action also targeted themed travel such as adventure sports, religious tourism, and more importantly the health sector.
Also known as, medical tourism, this industry covers many popular procedures including…
Eye surgery: Lens replacements have become popular in areas like Istanbul and Kusadasi. The name suggests an intense procedure, yet many expats have taken advantage of the overnight process, simply to improve their vision and eliminate the need for glasses.
Dental work: Much of the credit for the popularity of minor and extensive dental work is because of the cheap cost of dental work compared to the same procedure in Western countries.
Plastic surgery: From simple nose and boob jobs to detailed procedures of pinning the ears back, gastric bypasses or liposuction, patients favour Istanbul for the private surgeries offering top of the range aftercare.
Spa Treatments: Regions like Izmir are especially renowned for their spa hotels built around natural springs producing thermal waters that provide relief for ailments such as skin conditions, rheumatism, and high blood pressure.
Hair Transplants: Once again, Istanbul has become the prime destination for males seeking a full head of head. Private companies are able to offer the service at a reduced price while ensuring the comfort of their patients with extras such as a chauffeur limousine transfer from the airport.
What Do the Experts Say?
The Turkish Healthcare Tourism Development Council (THTDC) formed in 2008 and based in Istanbul is Turkey's largest health tourism organization, with 141 members. They say….
“As a result of state-led health system reforms and an influx of private investments to Turkey's healthcare landscape, the country is now a strong alternative for international patients. With 46 Joint Commission International accredited hospitals, Turkey's private medical infrastructure is now a well-built option in the global medical tourism arena.”
They are also keen to point out that people traveling to Turkey to take advantage of the health and medical tourism sector are not just seeking cosmetic procedures such as dental work or plastic surgery. Inquiries by foreigners for procedures such as bone marrow, cardiology, transplantation, and genetic services are increasing every year.
The Hurriyet Daily Newspaper article says, officials are tracking the rise of the health tourism sector with an eager eye. They also quote…
“Turkey, the sixth most visited tourist destination in the world, has also become one of the most popular medical tourism destinations with more than half a million medical tourists visiting the country last year, according to data compiled by Anadolu Agency from the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TÜRSAB), the Health Ministry and private hospital figures. Turkey’s Health Ministry intends to increase the number of medical tourists to 2 million by 2023 by introducing tax-free health care zones specifically tailored for foreign patients.
So Why is Turkey a Popular Destination for Medical Tourism?
Overall, three factors can be contributed to the rise in medical tourism. In some countries like the UK, people wait months for extensive dental treatments while choosing to go private in Turkey means they undergo the work in the same week. Time plays a big part in luring potential travellers to get the procedure over and done with.
The same also applies to cost. Other countries often have high running costs for businesses and extensive regulations, while in Turkey; many industries have received tax-free benefits allowing them to pass the savings onto customers.
Lastly, in some countries like Libya, the standard of medical services is not as high as Turkey. If people have money, travelling abroad for treatment of a higher standard is an acceptable thing to do.
Tolga Ertukel, Owner of Turkey Homes says…
“Explore the prices and premises of companies in Turkey offering medical and health treatments. Most people are extremely surprised at the level of service and aftercare offered. A trip to Turkey for them not only saves money, but they opt to have a holiday at the same time as looking after their body.”
Furthermore, Turkey Homes would be pleased to recommend some of the top Istanbul Private Hospitals for quotation and consultation. Please contact us for further details.
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