Turkey hopes to see medical tourism generate US$3 billion in revenue as the numbers increase.
Local and international companies see potential for the Turkish healthcare system linked to medical tourism.
The field of application is much wider than cosmetic surgery, hair transplants, facelifts, or slimming with detox programs. Many hospital departments, such as those offering oncology, cardiology, and organ transplant services, attract foreigners from all over the world seeking treatment in the country.
While European numbers may be lower, Russian numbers are expected to rise as Turkey has air travel and is one of the few countries hosting Russian citizens. Figures from Israel may be affected by the state warning citizens to stay away due to intelligence (which may or may not be true) of possible terrorist attacks.
According to official TURKSTAT data, 662,000 medical tourists visited Turkey in 2019, generating $1.65 billion in revenue. Due to the 2020 pandemic, the number dropped to 388,000 with revenue of $549 million. In 2021, 642,000 medical tourists brought in $1.49 billion. In the first quarter of 2022, there were 285,000 medical tourists generating revenues of US$332 million.
The most preferred clinical treatments by foreign patients were gynecological diseases and birth, internal diseases, eye diseases, medical microbiology, general surgery, dentistry, orthopedics and traumatology, infectious diseases and otolaryngology.
Some local professionals say TURKSTAT’s data on medical tourism is not accurate, saying the state is not aware of full medical tourism figures, which are expected to include 750,000 hair transplants. Applying this argument then leads to an estimate in 2021 of 1.27 million medical tourists, double the number shared by TURKSTAT.
Inbound medical travel to Turkey could now generate US$3 billion in revenue. The logic is that hair transplant tourists each spend US$3,000, while medical tourists pay US$7,500 to US$100,000 for organ transplants and cancer treatments. The industry expects patient numbers and revenues to increase by 30-40% in 2022.