AA News

Türkiye among top 10 health tourism countries in world

“Türkiye has become one of the top 10 countries receiving most foreign patients from around the world,” Elif Ural, board member at the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TURSAB), told Anadolu.

“In the ranking of health tourism in countries, the top consists of Mexico, India, Thailand, Brazil, Türkiye, and Singapore,” said Ural.

Ural stated that health tourism in the world is categorized under three sections – medical, thermal, and elderly-disabled tourism.

“As the TURSAB board, we are putting in efforts to work together with our TURSAB Nature and Adventure Tourism Specialized Presidency, as we aim to further develop our work within the scope of ‘the Century of Türkiye’,” she said.

Ural mentioned that there is a rapid growth in the number of hospitals, medical centers, doctors, healthcare personnel, and travel agencies, all of which play active roles in the rise of health tourism, thanks to Türkiye’s tourism infrastructure.

She highlighted that TURSAB carries out effective operations for the development of health tourism and they work in cooperation with all public institutions and organizations in the field, especially with the management of the Turkish state-owned healthcare firm USHAS.

She cited the two separate wide-ranged health tourism workshops organized by the association with expert participants, saying: “Last year, we organized health tourism information conferences in five different cities, specifically Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya, and Gaziantep, in which we aim to attract high-income tourists to Türkiye in our ‘Century of Tourism’ project. We will carry out a series of operations, ranging from inventory organization to providing special training to our members, from marketing strategies aimed for tourism of the regions to promotional planning, and more.”

‘29 countries aimed for health tourism’

Ural stated that USHAS targets 29 countries for health tourism to Türkiye, which are the UK, Germany, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Kosovo, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Algeria, Morocco, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Senegal, Mauritania, and Nigeria.

She emphasized that Türkiye’s health tourism revenues have been growing steadily, except for the decline in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Health tourism revenues were at $1.49 billion in 2019, though this figure reached $2.3 billion in 2023, according to TurkStat data. However, despite the pleasing increase, we know that we still have a long way to go, and as TURSAB, we will continue to put in the effort to utilize Türkiye’s potential,” she said.

Ural stated that foreign patients visiting Türkiye come within the framework of medical tourism.

“Patients coming to Türkiye receive treatment mostly from units, such as gynecology, internal medicine, ophthalmology, medical biochemistry, general surgery, dentistry, orthopedics, traumatology, infectious diseases, and ear-nose-throat branches, according to data from USHAS. Apart from these, we also attract great interest in the fields of aesthetics and hair transplantation; however, we do not have data on the income items of incoming patients, as they are undisclosed,” she said.

“Foreign patients go around the city where they are staying, shop, and taste different flavors from our cuisine under the conditions permitted by the treatment. Those who come for aesthetic and hair transplantation reasons stay in accommodation facilities, as well as those who come for thermal tourism, medical SPA, and elderly and disabled tourism mainly use accommodation facilities. We can say that it is a segment that attracts attention in general because it has a high added value,” she added.