Turkish medical tourism eyes bigger slice of global pie – Xinhua

A Turkish doctor transplants hair follicles to his patient in Bursa, Turkey, on August 11, 2022. (Photo by Mustafa Kay/Xinhua)

Akinchi beetroot

ANKARA, August 13 (Xinhua). Medical tourism in Turkey is growing rapidly, experts say, as the fall of the Turkish lira has reduced the cost of treatment and cosmetic surgery creates a competitive niche in an ever-evolving global market. .

Alper Kapanoglu runs two clinics in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city and commercial center, and in the northwestern city of Bursa, serving about 3,000 patients a year, mostly foreigners from Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

“The depreciation of the lira has made our services more affordable, and Turkey has a very good medical infrastructure with qualified doctors,” Kapanoglu told Xinhua.

Turkey is looking to boost tourism revenue to help finance a current account deficit that has widened alarmingly this year amid falling interest rates and a surge in imports. The rate cut, despite inflation, has also seen the lira lose much of its value from 2021.

A Turkish doctor transplants hair follicles to his patient in Bursa, Turkey, on August 11, 2022. (Photo by Mustafa Kay/Xinhua)

According to official data, about 285,000 medical tourists arrived in Turkey in the first quarter of this year. Affiliate revenue is expected to exceed $3 billion by the end of this year.

Among cosmetic surgeries, hair implantation attracted about 550,000 foreign clients in the first half of 2022, compared with 750,000 in all of 2019, leading the sector to recover from the pandemic, said Servet Terziler, head of the Turkish Health Tourism Association.

In Turkey, hair loss treatment costs between 3,000 and 7,000 euros, while “in Europe, doctors do it for around 8,000 to 10,000 euros,” Terziler added.

About ten years ago, Ankara recognized the importance of medical tourism and encouraged the establishment of private clinics and hospitals, as well as private treatment departments in public hospitals.

Thus, these objects receive tax benefits and certain exemptions from paying customs duties. Some of them also operate as travel agencies that offer simplified medical tourism packages, including flights, local transport and first-class accommodation, even holidays in many resorts in Turkey.

In 2002, the share of spending on the health of tourists in the national income from tourism was only 1 percent. In 2020 – 4.5 percent.

But medical procedures don’t just consist of facelifts and hairstyles, people also come in for life-saving surgeries, according to business owners.

“The cost of treatment for serious cases such as cancer, organ transplants and other life-threatening diseases here is only a fraction of the price in some European countries,” said Aziz Tsiga, chairman of a medical services firm in Istanbul. .

“According to surveys, medical tourism, including wellness, thermal treatments and geriatric care, is worth $1.2 trillion annually worldwide,” he said. “Our country can easily earn 10 percent of this world pie.”

Turkey could get a much bigger share of the global healthcare pie, given its infrastructure and geographic location, while it needs to adopt more modern rules and standards with stricter provisions on patient insurance, Tsiga explained.

With the end of the restrictions related to COVID-19, the local health tourism industry is now identifying 60 countries as potential target markets.

Turkey’s Trade Minister Mehmet Mus said in July that with government support, revenue from health tourism could grow to $5 billion in the short term and rise to $10 billion in the medium term.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.