With a remarkable 70% surge in visitor numbers compared to pre-pandemic levels, Turkey is positioning itself to outshine France and become Europe's second most sought-after holiday destination, following Spain. The boost in tourism is not solely attributed to its picturesque beaches but also to a 'small yet impactful' factor – health tourism.
In 2022, Turkey welcomed over 1 million medical tourists (approximately 1,200,000), and the trend continues into the first half of 2023, with 750,000 individuals seeking various medical treatments. Hair transplants and cosmetic dentistry are leading the list of sought-after procedures, followed closely by laser eye surgery and weight-loss procedures.
Cosmetic dentistry (referred to as Hollywood Smile) attracts up to 250,000 foreign patients annually.
On the other hand, Istanbul, hosting over 1.7 million visitors in August alone, stands out as a preferred destination, especially for men opting for hair transplants.
Then again, innovative procedures like Follicular Unit Extraction, involving the harvesting and transplanting hair follicles, draw medical tourists from all over Western countries and the UK in the first place, seeking quality treatments. Notably, most patients receive treatments under local anaesthesia, enhancing Turkey's appeal as a health tourism hub.
As Turkey's popularity grows among British tourists, it currently holds the eighth position on the list of most visited destinations, according to the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA). With the anticipation of reaching 50 million visitors in 2023, Turkey's rise in the global tourism markets seems unstoppable, fueled by its scenic landscapes and emerging prominence in health tourism.