Turkish Airlines to help boost medical tourism
Under the agreement signed on Aug. 18, the flag carrier will cooperate with more than 700 member companies of the HİB operating in the health care services industry.
“We aim to facilitate the travel of foreigners arriving in Türkiye to receive medical services and contribute to health service exports,” said Ahmet Bolat, chairman of Turkish Airlines’ board and executive committee.
Export revenues of the country’s service exports industry increased by 60 percent in 2021 from the previous year to amount to $58.1 billion, posting a trade surplus of $26.3 billion, Bolat said.
In the first half of 2022, revenues of the sector grew by 69 percent on an annual basis to reach $33 billion with the trade surplus standing at $14.5 billion, according to Bolat.
The service exporters’ revenues are expected to hit $90 billion this year, he said, adding that the target is to generate at least $110 billion in export revenues in 2023.
For his part, Orhan Gazi Yiğitbaşı from the board of HİB said that the medical tourism industry’s export revenues amounted to $1.6 billion in 2021, while the export revenue expectation for 2022 is $2.5 billion.
“I am confident that with the cooperation agreement signed with Turkish Airlines, we can easily meet the targets of receiving 1.5 million patients and $5 billion export revenue set for 2023,” he added.
Revenues of the health tourism industry exceeded $1 billion last year.
“But this figure is probably much higher at around $2.5 billion to $3 billion if unrecorded revenues are included,” Cihat Alagöz, chair of the Trade Fairs Industry Council of the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Türkiye (TOBB), said in an earlier comment.
In 2002, the share of health expenditures in Türkiye’s overall tourism was only 1 percent but increased to 4.5 percent in 2020.
Alagöz added that in 2021 the average spending per foreign tourist was $750 but in the health tourism sector per capita spending was around $2,000.
THY hiring more cockpit crew
Providing information on the operations of Turkish Airlines, Bolat also noted that the carrier flies to 129 countries with a fleet of 386 airplanes and 65,000 employees.
He added that Turkish Airlines’ passenger revenues grew by 8 percent in the first half of 2022 compared with the same period of 2019 to $5.4 billion, while cargo revenues increased around 2.5 times to climb to $2 billion.
Meanwhile, Turkish Airlines has announced that it will hire additional experienced captains and first officers to meet demand which has been growing in the post-COVID period. It is already collecting applications for the vacant positions. Turkish Airlines presently employs 5,525 pilots.