Health care tourism expected to generate $10 billion in next 5 years
Turkey has achieved significant momentum in health care tourism over the last decade, offering a wide array of services and generating revenues. Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, referring to the improvement in the sector, stressed that health care tourism has an important place in Turkey's health strategies and that significant studies have been conducted in this regard. "Our income in health tourism has not reached $1.5 billion a year. We aim to further increase our health revenues by demonstrating our capacity completely. I believe we will reach $10 billion in revenue over the next five years through our studies," he said.
Stating that Azerbaijan, Iraq, Georgia, Germany and Russia prefer Turkey for health tourism, Koca noted that health tourists are coming not only from neighboring countries, but also from distant regions with higher income levels.
Koca said that the current picture has been achieved through the individual efforts of certain private hospitals, while public support has remained limited. Indicating that city hospitals, in particular, will bring a big breakthrough in this regard, Koca said: "We want to make health tourism a state policy. We should develop various incentive models that will motivate our public and private health sector, and we should introduce this potential to the world. For this, we need both the promotion and standardization of our institutions." Koca added that a structure to do this, the International Health Services Joint Stock Company (USHAŞ), has been established to guarantee foreign patients and facilitate health tourism. Koca said that the company, whose institutional structuring is in progress, would act as an intermediary for international health services, adding: "In short, our health sector will be promoted by the state. Under the caution and guarantee of the state, health tourism will reach the desired level."
Meanwhile, revenues from health care tourism over the last five years reached $4.4 billion, while 1.8 million people visited the country for health purposes in the 2013-2017 period. Data released by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TurkStat) shows that 433,292 people came to Turkey last year for health care tourism, a 62 percent increase compared to 2013 when the country welcomed 267,461 visitors for healthcare tourism.
In the first half of the year, 274,062 tourists visited Turkey for medical purposes, according to TurkStat data.
Moreover, revenues from health care tourism significantly increased over the last five years. Last year, Turkey generated $1 billion in healthcare tourism compared to $747.6 million in 2013. Health care tourism revenues were $590.1 million in the first half of the year.