As one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations, Turkey’s appeal in recent years has extended beyond sea and sun vacations to the area of health tourism. It is not just the country’s fabulous touristic facilities, but its world-beating hi-tech hospitals and its doctors who have accomplished in specialist treatments and operations, that are now making a mark. People from all around the world are beating a path to a Turkish health tourism sector that is rapidly on its way to becoming a ‘brand’.
The number of international patients who prefer Turkey’s healthcare service has been increasing significantly since 2010. While 109,000 medical tourists visited Turkey in 2010, this figure rose to 583,000 last year, not including more than 100.000 people who visited Turkey for plastic surgery. Thanks to this growing popularity, Turkey became one of the top ten medical tourism destinations globally last year, advancing from the 17th place only five years ago.
Turkey has already been a hub for hair transplant and physiotherapy services, welcoming patients from close to 60 countries primarily from Europe and the Middle East. European patients usually visit Turkey for optical care, dental treatment, plastic surgery, hair transplantation operations and in-vitro fertilization treatments. The list of preferred treatment areas is much larger for the visitors from the Middle East.
Currently, 54 private Turkish hospitals, employing some 150,000 health-care professionals are accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI, a US based standards agency), representing a fifth of all JCI-accredited hospitals in the world. Turkey also ranks third in the list of JCI accredited hospitals globally. These are health care centers offering top quality services at affordable prices.
The Health Tourism Business Council brings together all stakeholders in the health sector, provides international patient services such as bilingual doctors and nurses, airport-hospital transfers and follow-up after the procedures.
In short, excellent healthcare infrastructure, efficient organization, competitive prices, relatively short flight distances and easy connections to Europe, Middle East, and North America attract an increasing number of medical tourists to Turkey.
Thermal tourism – the rising star of health tourism in Turkey
Spa therapies have existed since ancient times when bathing was considered a popular means of treatment as well as spiritual purification. While it became an established practice in ancient Greece, it was the Romans that elevated bathing to a fine art. This culture, continued by Byzantines, later on led to the formation of hamam culture incorporating Turkish rituals and traditions.
Today, Turkey’s thermal facilities reunite the knowledge of ancient civilizations with the modern technologies of spa and wellness systems, luxurious hotels, friendly service, experienced specialists and stunning nature. Turkey ranks among the top seven countries in the world and at the top in Europe in terms of the abundance and potential of its geothermal sources. The country has over 1,000 thermal springs with temperatures varying between 20°C – 110°C and with rich mineral content. This turned Turkey into a popular thermal tourism destination with its hot spring bath cures, Turkish baths, massage therapy, salt rooms and general wellness and thermal cure centers.