Turkish health and medical tourism expected to top 1mln in 2019

Thursday 25 October 2018 by Graciela Rojas

Medical tourism to Turkey from Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arabi Emirates (UAE) significantly increased since the beginning of 2018 as Turkey’s international reputation as a high-quality medical services provider to global patients.

Over the years Turkey has established a reputation and developed the necessary infrastructure required to become a leading global player in the healthcare services industry. The country’s close cultural and religious ties with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have therefore made Turkey especially interesting for Arabic-speaking patients.

Moreover, concerning cost efficiency, Turkey provides better quality treatment when compared to its European and American counterparts. Some surgeries cost as much as 90 percent less than other countries.

With favorable exchange rates for dollar-backed currencies such as those in the GCC, medical tourism hit all-time highs in August this year, especially from the UAE, Kuwait, and Bahrain.

“We expect over 850,000 international medical patients to arrive in Turkey by the end of 2018 and expect that number to increase again to reach over 1 million patients by the end of 2019,” said Salih Ozer, Attaché of Culture and Information from Turkey to the UAE.

“Google searches from GCC users looking for hospitals, clinics and hotels showed very positive growth in the summer period, especially around Eid Al Adha, which shows that patients were also looking to combine their medical and tourism activities.”

Medical and healthcare tourists were mostly admitted to ophthalmology, gynecology and obstetrics clinics and most preferred private practice hospitals. Patients from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE, Jordan, and Lebanon, have a great interest in hair transplantation and eye surgery and treatments, such as Lasik surgery and lens replacements, which are very popular in Istanbul and Kusadasi.

Turkey’s environment, pleasant climate, and modern transportation infrastructure have made the country popular with Europeans and Americans, who travel to Turkey for its affordability. Tourists from Russia and the Middle East prefer Turkey for its high-level of medical care quality.

Many of Turkey’s doctors have been educated and trained in the USA, and Western Europe specialized in cardiac care, cancer treatments, and orthopedic care. Istanbul, Ankara, and Antalya are becoming more and more renowned for quality and affordable medical hospitals and clinics.

About Turkish Cultural and Tourism Office in Dubai:

The Turkish Cultural and Tourism Office in Dubai is the official representative of the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Culture and Tourism. One of the main aims of the Tourism Office is to bridge the gap between cultures and foster relationships with the travel industry by organising promotional activities throughout the GCC. The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism participates in travel exhibitions and conferences to position the country as a leading tourist destination. With its breath-taking views, unique historical and archaeological sites, steadily improving hotel and touristic infrastructure and a tradition of hospitality and competitive prices, it’s no wonder Turkey is among the most sought-after travel destinations in the world.

The primary functions of The Turkish Cultural and Tourism Office in Dubai are:

  • Supervises all promotional activities relating to Turkey in the GCC
  • Liaise with travel agencies
  • Organises roadshows to further promote Turkey as a destination for leisure, shopping, health, sports and invest in the MICE (meetings, incentives, conference and exhibitions) Middle East market