Turkey welcoming Europe’s elderly as health tourism rises
DENİZLİ/İZMİR - Anatolia News Agency
Tourists enjoy a thermal facility in the Aegean province of İzmir. Along with medical tourism, Turkey is becoming a leading destination of thermal recreation.Turkey is on its way to becoming an important destination in health tourism, especially in the areas of rehabilitation, retirement homes and communities, said the President of the Health Tourism Board Dr. Dursun Aydın.
Every year 130,000 people come to Turkey for treatment with another 250,000 coming for thermal tourism, rehabilitation and services for the elderly, Aydın said, as reported by Anatolia news agency.
Health tourism in Turkey has achieved important growth over the past nine years, Aydın said. With an improvement in quality health services, Turkey has become an attractive health tourism destination, said Aydın.
High quality, affordable
“Turkey provides both quality and affordable health services. A lot of people that live in the region travel to Turkey to take advantage of these services,” said Aydın.
According to Aydın, health tourism should not only be viewed as medical treatment. Equally as important are thermal spas, rehabilitation and retirement communities and services that cater to the elderly population. Turkey has taken important steps in developing these facilities and services.
“In developed countries, 20 percent of the population is over the age of 65 and in the coming years this elderly population is expected to increase even more…. Turkey is going to become Europe’s new address for elderly care,” said Aydın, noting that European countries are currently contemplating where they can send their aging population.
Turkey only receives $1 billion in health tourism revenues per year from abroad, while the total global health tourism sector turnover is approximately $100 billion. Turkey does not receive even one percent of the pie, according to Aydın.
“The preparations we make going forward will strengthen this sector even more,” said Aydın. Ege University Dentistry Faculty President Prof. Dr. Oğuz Aktener told Anatolia news agency that dental services were a part of Turkey’s health tourism and that many patients from Europe and the region were coming to Turkey for dental treatment.
Aktener said that prosthetic teeth and implants are far more affordable in Turkey and provide price advantages for patients coming from abroad. Aktener also claimed that Turkey surpassed Europe in dental treatment.
“In many European countries, governments have put a cap on dental payments. As a result, many Europeans spend the money they would otherwise spend on costly implants in their countries to come to Turkey for both dental treatment and a holiday,” said Aktener.