As for medical tourism, Turkey is among the first countries that come to mind. Asst. Prof. Dr. Fatma Özçelik Heper stated that Turkey ranks 9th in the world in medical tourism and medical tourists mostly come for eye diseases.
Medical tourists come mostly for eye diseases
Many foreign tourists visit Turkey for reasons such as long waiting lists at hospitals in their own countries, high costs, receiving quality health care services and benefiting from tourism activities along with health. Medical tourism, which spreads tourism over 12 months and positively affects the public opinion of the country, is a sector with high development potential, which is heavily invested by public and private sector entrepreneurs in our country, due to its positive contributions to employment and economy.
“MEDICAL TOURIST PROFILE CHANGED DURING THE PANDEMIC”
According to the studies carried out by the International Medical Tourism Association, Turkey ranks 9th in the world in health tourism, despite the negativities brought by the pandemic. Asst. Prof. Dr. Fatma Özçelik Heper, a faculty member at Istanbul Gelisim University (IGU) Faculty of Economics, Administrative and Social Sciences, Department of Tourism Guidance stated: “The most preferred treatments for patients coming to Turkey are eye surgeries, hair transplantation, aesthetic-plastic operations, dental treatments, obesity, IVF and infertility. During the pandemic, the medical tourist profile coming to Turkey changed. While Germany, Russia, Iran, England and Arab countries were the leading countries in the category of countries with the highest number of medical tourists before the pandemic, the countries with the highest number of medical tourists during the pandemic changed to Arabia, the Middle East and the Turkic Republics.
TURKEY IS IN ADVANTAGED POSITION FOR 2023 TARGETS
The fact that Turkey is close to Western Europe, which constitutes a great potential market for medical tourism, particularly Germany, the fact that some diseases are not covered by insurance in these countries play an active role in the preference. Dr. Heper also added: “Turkey aims to increase the level of 25-30 billion dollars from the 2.5 billion dollars medical tourism income it targets for 2023. In order to achieve these goals, it is necessary to attend medical fairs, pay attention to internet promotions, and ensure that health institutions serving in medical tourism receive accreditation.”