The Turkish government has rolled up its sleeves to promote and boost health tourism with new regulations and incentives for the sector, while bringing additional investment incentives for the private sector within the framework of the field.
Finance Minister Naci Ağbal said yesterday that with the recently enacted value added tax (VAT) regulation to promote health tourism, a VAT exemption was issued for foreigners in Turkey for services offered in this area.
Ağbal said they previously exempted earnings obtained in health tourism from the 50 percent corporate tax to encourage private hospitals to bring patients from abroad.In 2017, Turkey, which has set a higher standard of success with the concept it has created in the sector in recent years, saw a 31 percent increase in health tourism, Turkish Medical Tourism Development Council Member Özlem Safiye Kurt recently said.She stated that more than 1 million people came to Turkey for health tourism in 2017, leading to a foreign exchange inflow of more than $10 billion.
The finance minister pointed out that health tourism is a growing area. "The world population is aging. Europe is the world's fastest-growing region. Health and care for the elderly is a very costly business," he added. "Many countries are looking for ways to reduce these costs. With its sun, qualified medical facilities, personnel and thermal facilities, Turkey has had a great opportunity."
Ağbal reported that the VAT exemption to support health tourism has made Turkey more advantageous than other countries and that they will soon make a new regulation to pave the way for the private sector and promote health tourism institutionally.
Indicating that they will add investment incentives for private sector health tourism investments, the Economy Ministry will provide additional tax deduction and VAT exemption by defining it in the investment incentive system, Ağbal said that contracts covering more than one year with social security institutions abroad can be made and, in particular, by making long-term contracts with social security institutions in Europe, they will provide treatment and care when countries agreeing on prices send their sick and elderly citizens to Turkey for care.
"There are serious investments in city hospitals. We have the opportunity to evaluate these investments, bring foreign exchange to the country in this way and create extraordinary employment in the health sector," Ağbal said.
He noted that in addition to the Economy Ministry, the Health Ministry is working on a new regulation in this regard.