During the period of January-November, health care tourism broke records with 751,000 tourists who came to Turkey for treatment. The sector hopes to serve 760,000 visitors by the end of the year. Health care tourism revenues are also expected to exceed TL 7 billion ($1.8 billion).In recent years, Turkey has seen a considerable growth in health care tourism, which resulted in a record number of visitors from January to November. According to the data obtained from the Turkish Healthcare Travel Council (THTC), 751,000 tourists visited Turkey for treatment purposes in the first 11 months of the year.The number of health care travelers to Turkey reached 746,000 in 2015 with a revenue of TL 5.2 billion. But the number of health care tourists dropped to around 730,000 in 2016 due to terror attacks and the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
In light of the 2017 data, THTC Founding Chair Emin Çakmak highlighted that Turkish health care tourism exceeded the 2015 figures. "At the beginning of the year, we had a target to serve 750,000 tourists in health care tourism, which we have exceeded," Çakmak said and shared a target of 760,000 tourists with a revenue of more than TL 7 billion. As for 2018, the THTC chair said the sector aims to provide services for 800,000 health care travelers and generate TL 7.5 billion in revenue.
Health care tourists generally prefer Turkey for cancer treatments, organ transplants and heart surgeries, Çakmak informed. "In addition to these health services, Turkey is also a top choice for in vitro fertilization. The number of visitors seeking treatment for in vitro fertilization in Turkey saw a 100 percent increase," he said. Particularly visitors from Turkic states and Europe come to Turkey for in vitro fertilization, he pointed out, and noted that the success rate of in vitro fertilization centers reached 65 to 70 percent, while it hovers around 40 percent at centers abroad. Another reason for choosing Turkey as an in vitro fertilization treatment destination is the affordable prices. While the prices stand around $4,000 in Turkey, the price to get the same treatment is two or three times more abroad.
In terms of countries, Iraq ranks first followed by Libya and Kazakhstan. "The environment of war still prevails in Iraq, therefore Iraqi people come to turkey for organ transplants and treatment for heavy burns," Çakmak said. The number of health care travelers from Kazakhstan, who come for oncology treatments, have seen a considerable rise this year, he informed. Moreover, Çakmak added, Europeans generally visit Turkey for plastic surgery and hair transplants.
Turkey has opened numerous private and public hospitals over the last 10 years, and 22 city hospitals equipped with the state-of-art technology that will be operational until 2023. The country also continues to train more and more doctors at the newly opened medical schools.
Turkey is ranked fourth in the global list for healthcare tourism in terms of the number of patients it serves and comes third in terms of the revenue it generates from healthcare tourism.
Moreover, a recent tourism report issued by the Turkish Hoteliers Federation (TÜROFED) stressed that Turkey is among the leading countries in organ transplants, while the country's national policies boost healthcare tourism. The report also states that around 2 million medical tourists and $20 billion revenue are expected by 2023.