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Interview with Marketing Director of Healthy Body on Turkey Medical Tourism Market

Healthcare | Dec, 2022

Ms Bayburtlugil, tells TechSci Research that Istanbul seems to be the center of health tourism in Turkey, foreign patients are also treated in cities such as Antalya, Ankara and Izmir.

TECHSCI RESEARCH- How is your work related to Medical Tourism Industry?

EXPERT- As I’ve been in the medical tourism industry since 2016, I’ve been receiving only foreign patients from abroad to Turkey and as a medical tourism company, I lead them to the best hospitals and surgeons in Istanbul. We have contracts between us and the hospitals which have their own accreditations.

TECHSCI RESEARCH- Why is Turkey attracting so many medical tourists?

EXPERT- Turkey is a very important country that has hosted many ancient civilizations and is located in a place that can be considered almost in the heart of the world. Due to its location and its role as a bridge between the East and the West, it has become a country that attracts the attention of both regions. When it comes to health, Turkish doctors have always been successful both in Turkey and wherever they go for their duties. The quality of medical education in Turkey is very high and it is a well-equipped country in the medical sense. This is very important in terms of instilling confidence in patients who want to come for treatment. In addition to the high quality and success, affordable treatment costs compared to the rest of the world attract health tourists to Turkey.

TECHSCI RESEARCH- From which countries do medical tourists travel to Turkey and why?

EXPERT- Although tourists come to Turkey from all over the world to receive health services, the huge quantity of tourists come from European countries such as Germany and Switzerland, Balkan    countries, North African countries such as Algeria and Morocco, from nearby regions such as Iraq and Iran, and Middle East countries. As a result of the intense and disciplined studies to be carried out in the North America region, a large number of tourists are expected from these regions as well. The reasons why people prefer Turkey are that the health service in Turkey is of high quality, there are no long waiting times and it is affordable in terms of price.

TECHSCI RESEARCH- For what treatment type do people generally travel to Turkey and why? (Cosmetic Treatments, Hair Transplantations, Gynecology Treatments, Cancer Treatment, Eye Treatment, Dental Treatments or any other)

EXPERT- People can easily get health services in Turkey by using their international health insurance especially for treatment-purpose services. They come here for the following branches most: Cosmetic surgeries and hair transplantation, cancer treatments, internal and general surgeries, IVF treatments, eye surgeries, dental treatments and orthopedics.

TECHSCI RESEARCH- What is the scenario of inpatient and outpatient medical tourism in Turkey? Can you comment on the split between the two?

EXPERT- Patients come to Turkey on a planned basis in order to receive a certain health service. They apply to medical tourism agencies like us or directly to our hospitals by making an appointment in order to treat their diseases in Turkey, which are usually diagnosed in their own country. These are treatments that usually require surgery and a stay in Turkey for at least 3 days to maybe 1 month or more.

TECHSCI RESEARCH- Which region in Turkey provides the treatment to most of the medical tourists in Turkey and why?

EXPERT- Although Istanbul seems to be the center of health tourism in Turkey, foreign patients are also treated in cities such as Antalya, Ankara and Izmir. While the tourists who come to our country in the summer prefer our southern provinces for their treatments, Istanbul can attract health tourists in all seasons.

TECHSCI RESEARCH- Who are the top medical tourism service providers in Turkey and why?

EXPERT- Tourists who want to receive health services in our country either apply directly to the hospital, or reach the relevant doctor directly, or apply to health tourism agencies authorized by the Ministry of Health, which can also provide services such as accommodation and transfer. The important thing here is to ensure that the patient receives support from an institution that has local and international certification documents, which the patient can trust, the service quality is high, and the patient who is already in a foreign country does not feel left alone.

TECHSCI RESEARCH- According to you, who are the top medical tourism hospitals in Turkey and why?

EXPERT- Turkey has been known for the high-quality health services it has provided for many years. The number of JCI accredited hospitals in Turkey is quite high. Most of them are located in Istanbul. Many high-level hospitals such as Acıbadem, Memorial, Medicalpark, American Hospital, Kolan International Hospital, Dunya Eye Hospital have high-tech medical equipment and are hospitals with high doctor and service quality. Turkey is the 3rd country in the world with the highest number of JCI accreditations.

TECHSCI RESEARCH- How did COVID-19 impact the Medical Tourism Industry in Turkey?

EXPERT- The Covid-19 pandemic has had a negative impact in Turkey as well as in the rest of the world. Compared to the year before the pandemic, the number of foreign health tourists and the income obtained decreased by half. However, Turkey was able to recover quickly with the precautions it took during the pandemic, correct quarantine practices and vaccination, and became even stronger as one of the leading countries in health tourism.

TECHSCI RESEARCH- Can you comment on the positioning of Turkey in Medical Tourism Industry as compared to other Middle East countries?

EXPERT- Turkey is ahead of many countries in health tourism both in terms of its location and with its proven success in the health sector. Every season, many people from the Middle East countries come to our country for treatment purposes. While the prices of medical services are very high in some Middle Eastern cities, in some cities the service is insufficient in terms of quality.

TECHSCI RESEARCH- What factors are supporting the growth of medical tourism in Turkey?

EXPERT- The diversity and quality of private hospitals in Turkey, the ease of access to specialists, and the absence of problems in foreign languages, especially in English, make it easier to receive all kinds of services in Turkey. Turkey is already a country that attracts tourists every season of the year. During the summer season, people flock to our southern provinces to benefit from the sun and hot climate during the months of May to October. For this reason, our cities such as Antalya and İzmir are preferred by people who want to benefit from the sun and the sea at the maximum rate, and who also want to receive health services. In addition to its mild climate, its historical and natural beauties are also the sides of the country that attract tourists.

TECHSCI RESEARCH- What factors are hindering the growth of medical tourism in Turkey?

EXPERT- Turkey is a country with sufficient resources for health tourism. Being a metropolis, Istanbul provides health services for both domestic and foreign tourists. However, the promotion of some medical branches is insufficient. Although Turkey ranks first in Europe in terms of the number of plastic surgeons and receives a large number of patients for aesthetic surgery, it should be able to attract more patients in therapeutic branches. For example, it should include many medical branches such as cancer treatments, cardiovascular surgery, bone marrow transplantation in its promotion. For this purpose, it has the infrastructure to meet the patients who want to come.

TECHSCI RESEARCH- Any recent developments that you would like to highlight related to medical tourism in Turkey?

EXPERT- A lot of investment is made in Turkey in the field of health tourism. From this point of view, the concept of health tourism in Turkey is very general. It would be wrong to define health tourism only with medical tourism. Because thermal tourism and third age tourism, which we call elderly tourism, in our country, is the other developing branches of health tourism. Thermal tourism has developed in provinces such as Bursa, Yalova, Afyonkarahisar and Bodrum. People can benefit from this every season of the year. Third age tourism is also developing in regions such as İzmir, Antalya and Fethiye. For this reason, people who have retired in their own countries can stay in our country for at least one season and benefit from services such as physical therapy. Turkey is on the way to become the world's favorite in these areas with the right promotional practices.

Based on the conversation with Ms. Bayburtlugil and looking at latest trends in the Turkey Medical Tourism Market, TechSci Research predicted that Turkey Medical Tourism market stood at USD1497.07 million in 2021 and is expected to grow at steady rate of 12.23% during the forecast period. The major factors contributing to the increasing demand for medical tourism market include increasing rate of medical cities in Turkey, rising technological advancements in healthcare system, the rising surging rates of affordable medical services in the country, growing number of US-accredited hospitals and the support (incentives) by Regional Government for medical facilities. 

Authors: Himanshu Saxena, Shaurya Singh, Kiran Sharma

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