Turkish Airlines (THY) is set to offer package services to health tourism passengers who visit Turkey for treatment. In addition to providing special services and catering to health tourists, the Turkish flag carrier is going to exempt them from ticket change fees and service charges as a part of Turkey's objective to be an assertive actor in the medical tourism sector. In an attempt to encourage foreign patients to receive treatment in Turkey, the Economy Ministry subsidizes flight tickets of passengers flying on THY or other air carriers.
Speaking at a meeting held by the Izmir Chamber of Commerce, THY CEO Temel Kotil said the company would pay great attention to health tourism and provide medical tourists with a number of benefits by cooperating with health care institutions that take those patients to Turkey, news portal dunya.com reported on Friday. Kotil invited health care providers in İzmir to Istanbul to hold meetings and jointly prepare special service packages for medical tourists.
Kotil underlined that just like Singapore, India and Thailand, Turkey has great potential to be one of the most powerful actors in health tourism with its special hospitals and professional doctors. He also said with this practice they aim both to make money and help Turkey achieve this goal.
According to Kotil, Istanbul's Atatürk and Sabiha Gökçen Airports are too busy to tolerate more flights, and for this reason as of April 2016, THY will launch direct flights from İzmir to Germany, France and Italy, which are among the most important markets for the company.
SunExpress, a subsidiary of THY, offers flights from Izmir to a great number of destinations in Europe, and THY aims to launch complementary flights, while many European air companies offer flights to the city that attracts great number of foreign visitors.
Izmir Chamber of Commerce President Ekrem Demirtaş said İzmir will be a world city and attract more investors thanks to THY, adding "All kinds of tourism can diversify in the city if direct flights are launched." We want Izmir to be the second hub of Turkey, he emphasized.
Kotil also said THY pays great attention to promote Turkey's traditional products during flights. Although THY promoted Turkish delight and figs, they failed to turn them into commercial products he stated, and called on businessmen to turn such items into commercial products.