With the construction of state-of-the-art public and private hospitals, Turkey is poised to become a global leader in medical tourism.
Turkey has always been a popular tourist destination, given its unrivaled history and cultural appeal, and now, after years of large-scale investments by both the private and public sector, it is the country’s medical infrastructure that is attracting foreigners from all over the world. In 2017, alone, Turkey provided healthcare for 765,000 patients from 144 different countries, according to the Turkish Healthcare Travel Council. The country’s national carrier, Turkish Airlines, even offers flight rates at discounted prices to medical travellers and Medical Tourism magazine estimates that the cost of receiving quality healthcare in Turkey is 50 to 65 percent lower than in the United States. Stakeholders in the healthcare industry have noticed, and they are seeking to further attract foreign patients to Turkey in the years to come.
Turkey is rising in prominence as a healthcare tourism destination largely due to the country’s strengthening hospital sector. The Turkish government has employed a private-public-partnership (PPP) model to upgrade the country’s healthcare infrastructure and launch state-of-the-art ‘City Hospitals.’ Private hospitals, too, have invested heavily in their Turkish facilities, implementing special services designed to cater especially to foreign patients.
One such private hospital group is Acıbadem. “In the first nine months of this year, we increased the number of foreign patients served by 20 percent compared to last year, caring for an additional 28,000 guests and increasing our revenues from foreign patients by 75 percent,” notes Mehmet Ali Aydinlar, Chairman of the Board at Acıbadem Group.
One of Turkey’s strengths in the medical tourism sector is its strategic positioning. “Turkey is a strong hub that can serve a large geographic scope,” explains Meri Istiroti, Group Coordinator at Liv Hospital Group. “When compared to Germany, Korea and India, Turkey is at the crossroads of the world.”
Turkey is only becoming more accessible, too. With the opening of the new Istanbul Airport, one of the world’s largest, patients from over 50 countries will be able to access the Turkish healthcare system within a four-hour flight. With the improvements in the transportation sector coinciding with continued investment into the public and private hospitals, Turkey is poised to continue its rise to prominence as a global hub for medical tourism.