Mar 07

The outlook of health tourism in Türkiye

Tourism investments have increased significantly throughout Türkiye since the 1980s.

Since the second half of the 1980s, especially around Antalya and Muğla, thanks to tourism incentives and land allocation policies, there has been a severe increase in the accommodation capacity and subsequently the number of visitors, along with the tourism facilities built on public lands allocated to the private sector by the state for 49 years.

In the following years, with the rapid increase in the number of both domestic and foreign tourists, the tourism sector started to constitute a considerable role in the Turkish economy.

Besides, there has been a significant increase in volume in the tourism sector as many airports have been built throughout the country and access to holiday resorts has become much easier than in the past with the completion of the highway investments.

Although the tourism sector in Türkiye has a fragile nature due to the economic and political factors of the region, we see that tourism has diversified at the point reached today, thanks to the historical and geographical richness of our country. There are various sub-branches that attract different groups, such as summer tourism, winter tourism, health tourism, cultural tourism, business tourism, faith tourism, gastronomic tourism. As a result, foreign tourists from very different socio-economic profiles visit Turkiye. Likewise, there is a growing market in domestic tourism.

According to TÜİK (TÜİK) data for the first 11 months of 2022, it was revealed that 40 billion USD revenue was obtained from 42 million visitors.

The fact that tourism is divided into such different sub-categories is one of the strongest aspects of tourism in our country. As a result of this, we see that Turkey has been receiving visitors for 12 months, tourism has gone beyond being a seasonal concept and seasonal fluctuations in the number of visitors have decreased.

It should be noted that health tourism has a significant contribution to the success of the tourism sector. Türkiye is gaining more recognition in the health sector day by day, but when we analyze the data for the first three quarters of 2022, 876 thousand 521 people came to Türkiye for health services, generating income of 1 billion 603 million 478 thousand USD.

In Türkiye, health tourism has been divided into several categories, including in vitro fertilization, plastic surgery, orthopaedic operations, oncological treatment, hair transplantation, and aesthetics, but in recent years, our country has gained worldwide recognition in plastic surgery, hair transplantation, and aesthetics among other fields. While Istanbul is the leading city in health tourism, cities such as Izmir, Ankara, Kayseri and Gaziantep are other cities that receive a significant number of visitors. The proximity of cities to international airports, their location within a 3-hour flight distance, the adequacy of accommodation facilities in the city, and the cultural and social opportunities of the city stand out as other determining factors.

On the other hand, it would be true to say that health tourism creates a strong multiplier effect on the economy. In addition to the value it creates in terms of investment and employment in the health sector, health tourism also contributes directly to many sectors such as real estate, tourism & accommodation, and transportation.

As visitors who travel to our country for health tourism purchase houses in the future, it also creates a high demand and contributes to an increase in occupancy rates in the accommodation sector.

A combination of factors has led to Türkiye becoming an international brand in health tourism, including its qualified workforce, quality and capacity of facilities, and cultural background that influences patient care. Türkiye’s position in the health sector is likely to be strengthened further in the near future thanks to potential developments in different fields, such as thermal treatment and elderly care.