Out of the roughly 40 million tourists who visited Turkey last year, around half a million came for surgical procedures ranging from hair transplants and liposuction to cancer and orthopedic treatment, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute (TÜİK).
The number of medical tourists who visited Turkey totaled 414,658, including 86,011 Turkish citizens who live in foreign countries, bringing nearly $1 billion into the economy, an increase of 75 percent in foreign medical visitors to the country compared with 188,295 in 2013.While Turkish government spending has been focusing on developing public healthcare infrastructure and treatment, private healthcare spending has been driving much of the growth.
A total of 34 city hospitals are slated to be built for about 30 billion Liras ($11.6 billion).Private equity investors favor Turkey’s fast-growing service industries, including healthcare, retail and education because of a near tripling of the nominal per capita gross domestic product over the past decade and a young population of 77 million.Turkey provides affordable, high-quality healthcare thanks to its well-educated workforce and its location in the world, according to sector representatives. The Health Ministry said that only about 30 percent of patients received their treatment in public hospitals in the country, with the remainder receiving treatment in private hospitals.Compared with many other countries, the transplant cost of about 5,000 liras ($1,929) is a relatively low price. A sector representative said most customers come from Europe and the Middle East.
“Turkey’s location, only a 2-3 hour flight from major cities in Europe and the Middle East – and also its evolved holiday industry – are advantages that are bringing in more patients,” said Feyman Duygu Oktar, the founder of the Ankara Hair Center. Another advantage is that Turkey does not require a visa to more than 70 countries, and people from more than 110 countries can reach the country on a non-stop ticket,” she added.People from countries with heavily congested health systems welcome the opportunity to choose the time of their surgeries together with making savings of between 60 and 70 percent, which makes treatment more affordable than in European countries, according to sector representatives.