Turkey eyes $1 bln in health tourism revenue this year
Turkey has earned about $1 billion in health tourism revenues in the last 12 months despite travel restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, a health professional said on Sept. 20.
Last year, more than 662,000 foreign patients visited Turkey, according to Doc’s Health Tourism Agency CEO Yusuf Temrel.
“The figure was 143,266 in the first quarter of 2020. The revenue generated in that period was $187.9 billion,” he said.
“The top three countries sending international patients to Turkey were Iraq, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan,” he added.
Turkey’s health tourism revenue exceeded one billion in 2019, of which some 60 percent came from plastic surgeries.
The Turkish Health Ministry aims to increase the number of health tourists to 1.5 million by 2023 with a revenue of $10 billion.
Noting that during the COVID-19 pandemic the health infrastructures of the countries have been under pressure, Temrel said Turkey was a “shining star in terms of health tourism.”
“Our country is one of the countries that survived this process with the least damage with its well-equipped hospitals, experienced doctors and health personnel,” he said.
Citing Britain’s National Health Service numbers, some 4.4 million patients were in waiting lists for dental treatments, hernia and cataracts operations, hip and knee replacement surgeries, said Temrel.
“We predict that this number will exceed 10 million by the end of the year,” he said, noting that the United Kingdom, one of the countries most affected by the pandemic, holds great potential for Turkey’s health tourism sector.