Health Tourism in Turkey - Izmir Estate

Health Tourism in Turkey

Turkey is a well-established country in the terms of the health tourism industry and it was aiming to have a share of 20 billion dollars in the world health sector market by 2023, according to Ankara Health Tourism Association (ASTUD). but it doesn’t seem very likely to happen due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. Turkey’s 2023 target in health tourism has been revised to reach 1.5 million patients and 10 billion dollars according to USHAS (International Health Services Company).

In the last ten years, the number of medical tourists in the world exceeded ten million, with a turnover of over $ 100 billion annually.

Health tourism isn’t new. Since ancient Greek times, patients have traveled to seek treatment for their illnesses. Health tourism differs from local treatment in that it involves travel to a different city or country from one’s place of residence for treatment.

What Kind of Health Services Does Turkey Offer?

Turkey offers a variety of medical treatment services: eye diseases, orthopedics and traumatology, internal medicine, ear, nose, and throat, gynecology, general surgery, oral and maxillofacial diseases, drains, and nerve surgery, skin and venereal diseases, child health, and disease. The leading aesthetic procedures in Turkey: hair transplants, plastic surgery, and dental.

The diversity of Turkey’s health service continues to create a point of attraction for foreigners and international retirees.

Why Turkey is the Preferred Choice for Health Tourism?

The geographical and strategic location of Turkey, the quality of registered services, the climate, the fact that it has 1.5 billion people on 3 different continents and a flight distance of 4 hours makes it the shining star of health tourism in the world.

Top 6 Reasons:

• World-class quality services
• Very competitive pricing
• Customized and variety of services
• Number of accredited health institutions
• Short standby time
• Rich cultural heritage

Such specifications have an important role in the formation of ideas for tourists who visit the country temporarily, as well as for people who want to spend the rest of their lives in another country after retirement.

Patients choose Turkey primarily due to the quality-to-price ratio. Medical treatment and operations costs in Turkey are better suited than many European countries and other western developed countries. For example, IVF treatment in the US is around $ 15,000-16,000, while in Turkey it is $ 2600; medical operations such as laser myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism varies between € 4000 and 8000 in European countries, while in Turkey it is about € 600; while open-heart surgery is € 25,000 the average in European countries, this price level is about $ 10.000 hospitals in Turkey.

Due to the high prices in Europe and other western developed countries in health services, retirees who have health problems are preferred Turkey for continuing their lives. This situation leads to international retirement migration.

Both people who want to spend their retirement in Turkey and foreigners who want to get health care mostly prefer Istanbul, where health services are developing, Izmir and Antalya, which offer touristic opportunities.

Of course, compared to the European countries that make Turkey more attractive to health tourism and international retirement it is not the only reason that low wages. Turkey offers world-class treatment at very competitive prices.

For health tourism, the institutions need to be accredited by Joint Commission International (JCI). There are about 45 accredited health institutions/hospitals in Turkey and ranked second in the world. Most of these accredited organizations are in Istanbul. Istanbul is the first place in Turkey in both accredited hospitals and diversity of health services.

Most Popular Cities for Health Tourism in Turkey

The highest number of health tourists are in İstanbul and Antalya. It is among the top ten cities visited in Ankara, Izmir, Bursa, Muğla and Aydın.

In recent years, there have been significant increases in the number of tourists visiting İstanbul, Antalya, and Ankara for hair transplantation and laser treatment. The number of treatments in İstanbul and Antalya is higher in the areas of eye, dental and aesthetic surgery. There are even treatment possibilities for hair transplantation that have been reduced to 24 hours due to geographical proximity.

Turkey’s Health Tourism: Visitors by Country

Health tourism in Turkey attracts visitors from more than 130 countries including Germany, Russia, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, Albania, Bulgaria, Libya, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, and Macedonia.

Table 1 Visitors for health or medical reasons to Turkey (2012-2020)

Years Total 
Health or medical reasons
(less than a year)
Foreigner 
Health or medical reasons
(less than a year)
Citizen (Resident abroad)
Health or medical reasons
(less than a year)
2012 216.229 153.520 62.709
2013 267.461 188.295 79.166
2014 414.658 328.647 86.011
2015 360.180 260.339 99.841
2016 377.384 251.809 125.574
2017 433.292 326.709 106.583
2018 551.748 437.925 113.822
2019 493.464 413.274 80.189
                 2020                  388.150 282.363 105.787

Foreigners and abroad citizens are preferring Turkey more and more for health or medical reasons. The number of visitors coming to Turkey has doubled since 2012.

Countries such as Spain, Italy, and Portugal are traditional places where retirees emigrate. After the 2000s, shows that Turkey has begun to take place between these countries. Thus, another type of health tourism might be called “international retirement” is going out to face the day as a thriving area in Turkey.

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