Turkey is now one of the top ten countries in the world when it comes to health tourism. Not only are Turks no longer flying abroad to seek treatment, but now more and more patients are arriving to Turkey for services in a variety of medical branches.
These include optical, hair implant, corrective surgery, orthopedics, gynecological, urological and ear-nose and throat treatments. The number of foreign patients in Turkey has been increasing consistently over the past four years.
The new movement by state and private hospitals coupled by the state-offered incentives has resulted in tripling the number of foreign patients that come to Turkey for treatments over the past four years. In 2008, 74,000 foreign patients arrived to Turkey. In 2009, that figure rose to 91,000. In 2010, the number of foreign patients jumped to 109,000 and in 2012, the figure soared, reaching 156,000. Last year, the fruit of the immense efforts exerted for health investments resulted in bringing the number of foreign patients from 107 different countries up to 250,000
TRANSLATION SERVICES IN FOUR LANGUAGES
Efforts to promote health tourism are being done so comprehensively in the sub categories of medical tourism and thermal tourism. The Ministry is providing translation support in English, Arabic, Russian and German 24 hours, seven days a week.
In emergency situations, tourists are able to obtain information in their own language by dialing the telephone number 112 and may issue complaints by dialing 184. The call center has a staff of 21 employees that work in shifts and the team responds to approximately 700 calls a month. The ministry is hoping to bring the monthly number of calls up to 2,000 in 2013 and aims to include both Persian and French to the language services offered.
PATIENTS FROM 107 DIFFERENT NATIONS
The government implemented incentives for bringing in patients from abroad for health tourism. With an incentive of a thousand TL offered per patient brought in from foreign countries, coupled by the increasing preference of Turkey as a destination for medical treatment has increased the number of patients receiving services in Turkey. While the annual number of foreign tourists has reached 210,000, the medical segments that are seeing the highest demand are ophthalmology, oncology, orthopedics, cardiology, neurology, plastic surgery and dentistry.
The highest number of foreigners arriving to Turkey under the health tourism category are from Germany, Russia, Azerbaijan, Holland, Iraq and France. A high number of foreign visitors also came to Turkey for treatment from Ukraine, Belgium, Kazakhstan, Romania, Libya, Georgia and England.
TARGET: 500,000 FOREIGN PATIENTS IN 2015
The Ministry of Health is aiming to bring in seven billion dollars from 500,000 patients in 2015. In 2023, the target is to reach 20 billion dollars in revenue from a total two million foreign patients.